Month: April 2017

Cloudy Earnings Season Might Spell Troubled Water for Economy

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) Companies aren’t letting investors know what to expect ahead of earnings season. Less than 100 have published their expectations, the least amount since Bloomberg began keeping track in 1999. The latest drop in reports is the quickest on record, down 35% from a year ago. Investors are concerned about a pullback in car sales and a slowdown in merger and acquisition activity.

“There are some warning signs that are getting darker,” said BlackRock’s Larry Fink, in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.  



Gasoline, wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles and apparel all led the declines in the Consumer Price Index.

March figures for U.S. automakers were less than expected and provided evidence that the U.S.’ boom cycle in car sales could be declining. General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares both declined nearly 4 percent. Ford Motor Co.

Reports indicated that lenders may have been behind the decline in auto sales last month. Verizon Communications Inc reported Thursday that results fell short due to a drop in subscribers paying a monthly bill despite its launch of unlimited data plans. Share declined 2.3% to $47.80 while net income attributable to Verizon dropped to $3.45 billion from $4.31 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier. Total operating revenue fell to $29.81 billion from $32.17 billion a year prior.


After having reached an all-time high on March 1, the S&P 500 Index has been confined to a 55-point range. One week it gains. The next it loses. Deutsche Bank AG showed the Index demonstrated its lowest volatility to begin a new year since 1965.

The US government reported on Friday that price inflation in the US fell for the first time in 13 months (-0.3%). The year over year rate decreased to 2.4%, overshooting the Fed’s goal, but still below the historical average of 3.3%.

Gold suffered its largest one day drop in over six weeks leading into the French presidential election wherein both far-right and far-left candidates could be elected, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron apparently is in the lead. The euro increased to a three-week high against the U.S. dollar after Trump made comments that the dollar was too high.

Gold increase 0.16 an ounce to $1,281 an ounce, hitting a five-month high of $1,295.42, then declining. “Even though momentum has been positive there are other factors preventing a quick move higher from here – the sentiment is still that there will be stronger data from the U.S., and yields will probably rise. That will likely limit the upside (for gold),” said ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele.

Equities increased marginally in Europe and the United States decreased safehaven buying demand behind gold. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest gold backed exchange-traded fund, increased 11.8 tonnes on Wednesday – their biggest one-day inflow since September.



“While the metal is well positioned for a test of $1,300 with geopolitical concerns underpinning its safe-haven status, the failed tests of $1,290 are beginning to weigh upon investor
confidence,” MKS said in a note.

“Supply will struggle to register any growth, and indeed is likely to show a small decline following unusually high production in Russia in 2016. Demand, on the other hand, will continue to expand,” said Johnson Matthey Precious Metals Management in a quarterly report. “Higher vehicle production, combined with an increase in average catalyst loadings at a global level, will drive autocatalyst demand for the metal to another record level.”

Spot palladium increased 3.2 percent to $799.58 an ounce, on track for its biggest one-day jump since early February. Silver, down 0.4 percent at $18.01, while platinum was up 1.1 percent at $973.24.

The experts are optimistic, expecting 9.7 growth in S&P 500 earnings for the March quarter, 12 percent for the full year. Growth estimates were zero as reporting season drew near.over the past two years.

Fink anticipates a 5-10 percent correction. “If we don’t have earnings validated in these higher P/Es we could adjust downward 5 or 10 percent from here,” Fink said. “If the administration does succeed on some of these items then the market will then reassert itself going higher.”

The data in toto could point towards a bearish economic outlook – an excuse for the FOMC to leave interest rates.

A good sign for safehaven assets like cash, bitcoin, gold and silver.

 

Trump Wants Ride in Queen of England’s Golden Carriage for UK Visit



Donald Trump wants a golden carriage procession down the London Mall during his planned UK visit in October in what police believe will likely be the most extensive public order operation in years.

“If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased,” said a source.

Trump

Hundreds of heavily-armed security agents travel with Trump,along with plain-clothed police officers, positioned snipers and firearms officers in the crowds.

The source added: “There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited. In particular it is very flimsy.”


Image: Shutterstock, The Sun

Inmates Hack Prison’s Computer Network with DIY Computers



Five prisoners in the United States managed to build two personal computers from parts hidden behind a plywood board in the ceiling of a closet of their detention center. The prisoners connected the PC’s to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) network and abused their new found powers.

The actions by the prisoners caused the State of Ohio’s Office of the Inspector General to publish a 50-page report [PDF] about their investigations into the incident this week.

Related: Australian Man Withdrew $2.1 Million Thanks to Bank Error

Ohio Inspector General forensic analysis determined the prisoners issued passes for inmates to gain access to multiple areas within the institution, and used the Departmental Offender Tracking System to steal the personal information of an inmate and apply for five credit cards.

Forensics also found “a large hacker’s toolkit with numerous malicious tools for possible attacks. These malicious tools included password-cracking tools, virtual private network (VPN) tools, network enumeration tools, hand-crafted software, numerous proxy tools, and other software used for various types of malicious activity.”

The prisoners had “self-signed certificates, Pidgin chat accounts, Tor sites, Tor geo exit nodes, ether soft, virtual phone, pornography, videos, VideoLan, and other various software.”

A ODRC technical team reports: “Inmates appeared to have been conducting attacks against the ODRC network using proxy machines that were connected to the inmate and department networks. It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System portal was attacked and inmate passes were created. Findings of bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cybercrimes.”

The Ohio Inspector General was tipped off to the actions of the prisoners after the ODRC IT team moved the Marion Correctional Institution from Microsoft proxy servers to Websense.

On July 3, 2015, Websense sent an email alert reporting that a computer on the ODRC network had exceeded daily internet usage threshold. More alerts were forthcoming, warning of “hacking” and 59 regarding “proxy avoidance.”

So, ODRC investigated. The login credentials by the computer were found to be illicit and a search for the computer itself ensued. The computer was found when ODRC employees identified the network switch the PC’s were connected into.

“I was following up on information received from OSC IT department,” an incident report stated. “I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers. They narrowed the search area down to the switch in P3 and the PC was connected to port 16. I was able to follow the cable from the switch to a closet in the small training room. When I removed the ceiling tiles I found 2 PCs hidden in the ceiling on 2 pieces of plywood.”

The prisoners had gathered the computer parts from Marion’s Correction Institution’s RET3 program, which helps to rehabilitate prisoners by putting them to work breaking PCs into component parts so they can be recycled.

Five inmates were involved, and have since been separated in other correctional facilities, as detailed by the Inspector General report.

ODRC appreciates “the time the Inspector General’s office has taken to conduct these investigations and we have already taken steps to address some areas of concern. We will thoroughly review the reports and take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”

It added: “It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming.”


Images: Shutterstock

Royal Canadian Mint Releases Coins Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary

 

2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin - Celebrating Canada's 150th - Wild Swift Fox and Pups_ReverseThe Royal Canadian Mint is a favorite coin producer for precious metals investors. Many prefer the Mint’s 24k gold offerings or maybe the .9999 silver bullion. To investor delight, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled its fourth numismatic line for 2017.

Of note, the Mint celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary in this line, including an ultra-high relief 10 oz fine silver coin featuring the 1867 Confederation Medal and an obverse of Their Majesties Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. The new line of coins celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary even features fireworks that light up!



Another 2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Celebrating Canada’s 150th: Wild Swift Fox and Pups, features the photography of Saskatchewan’s John E. Marriott.

The 2017 $5 Fine Silver Coin was designed by Tony Bianco and features a traditional Canada Day fireworks display surrounding a colored Canadian flag.

Canadian

The fireworks will light up thanks to the inclusion of glow-in-the-dark technology.

The Bitcoiner’s Guide to Travel

Travel for Bitcoin has become much easier since 2013, when Bitcoin skyrocketed above $1,000 for the first time. Perhaps, you’ve seen a bitcoin sign hanging in the window of a streetside business. There are, to be certain, an increasing number of merchants accepting bitcoin, as well as individuals curious about using the first financial technology based on the blockchain. This is a Bitcoiner’s guide to travel.

Transportation

When it comes to flying, there are several options to use Bitcoin. One can fly American Airlines for bitcoins via Gyft. In Europe, Asia and Africa, Abitsky accepts the digital currency for flights, as well as hotels and car rentals. Moreover, Airbaltic accepts bitcoins for destinations worldwide. The reputable service, Cheapair, represents one of the most recognized bitcoin-accepting merchants in the world. Btctrip caters specifically to the Bitcoin community, and Destinia has won favor for some bitcoiners. Gift off turns bitcoin into UK National Rail vouchers. Gasoline gift cards via Coinfueled.com can save you money on a road trip.

Related: The Physical Bitcoin Market Not Available to North Americans

Accommodations

Of course, once you arrive at your destination, it might be a good time to rest. Towards this end, Expedia accepts Bitcoin for one’s travel needs. As well, Hotelgo24.com. Through Gyft, one might search gift card offers on Bedandbreakfast.com or peruse Orbitz’s Globalhotelcard.com. Further, Egifter has offered accommodations at the San Luis Resort.

Dining

For dining, Bitcoin Restaurants maintains a comprehensive list of places where one could pay for dining with bitcoin. Restaurant options might also be found at Coinmap.org, Gyft, EGifter and AirBitz. If you’re looking to shop for groceries in bitcoin, and save a little money instead of dining out, you might find options at Coinmap or Usebitcoins. Whole Foods gift cards can also be found at Gyft.

Bitcoin ATMs

Likely during the course of your travels, it might prove convenient to exchange bitcoins into the local currency. A robust network of 1,000 bitcoin transaction machines worldwide makes this possible, and indeed is perhaps an unsung hero of the Bitcoin ecosystem. On Coinatmradar one can find the closest so-called ‘Bitcoin ATM’ near them.

There are different types of ATMs, so ensure a machine you intend to visit does what you need. Some bitcoin ATMs only turn bitcoins into a local currency, while others vice versa. Two-way Bitcoin ATMs offer the most robust services of any machines, allowing customers to exchange bitcoins for local currency and vice versa.

Coupons

Taking the time to find coupons relevant to your life saves money over time. And Bitcoin has even this covered. Groupon via Gyft is a great option, as Grapo.bg, which helped Felix Weis, a Bitcoin traveler, navigate Bulgaria. We’ll hear from Mr. Weis shortly.

Related: Rap Legend, Coinbase Investor Nas’ Favorite Bitcoin Charity is Watsi.org

Debit Cards

Using a Bitcoin debit card won’t win you much (if any) cred among the cypherpunks in the Bitcoin scene, but they can be extremely convenient.

Bitcoin prepaid or debit card from Xapo, Coinbase, BitPay, Bitplastic, or others can make traveling on bitcoin much easier, as the debit cards allow for fast transactions and access to SWIFT, the global payment system used by MasterCard and Visa, via Bitcoin.

Directories

Directories like Airbitz, Coinmap, Cointerest, and Bitcoin Restaurants, Bitcoin.travel can help you find bitcoin merchants. Researching and joining localized bitcoin-oriented social media group can help you integrate into a local Bitcoin community for the time you will be a guest there.

Traveling on Bitcoin might not be as hard as it seems. More than 5,000 convenience stores in Taiwan accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Traveler

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if this could be done,” Felix Weis, who completed a trip around the world using mainly bitcoins in 2016, told GoldSilverBitcoin.com. Before he left for his trip, the Luxembourger lived in Berlin. He set out rules for his journey as such:

  1. No banks. And that meant no Western Union, no money exchanges, no converting USD to euros, no euros to yen.
  2. Bitcoin first. He had to use Bitcoin whenever possible.
  3. Cash only for bitcoin. Recognizing that there would be times when he would need local currency. He allowed himself to do peer-to-peer exchanges of bitcoin for cash, which, he says, led to some “fun adventures.”

The 28-year old used websites like Coinmap, a directory of Bitcoin-accepting businesses, to know where he could spend coins. He bought on Interrail pass with All4btc.com, a site which will buy something for you and you send them the bitcoins. He told GoldSilverBitcoin.com it would take between one afternoon and an entire day to research how to get around and find food in the next country. He often harbored uncertainties about how he would pay for things before departing for the next location.

He paid for hotels and flights via Bitcoin on the internet. People might use their credit cards at dinner, and he would repay them in bitcoins.

The hardest country for Mr. Weis was Bulgaria. He could not find a restaurant that would accept his Bitcoin. A man with whom he scheduled an appointment to make a Bitcoin transaction did not show. He ate nothing but his hotel’s continental breakfast – cereal, orange juice, and apples – for two days.

“Usually I was able to talk to people into accepting some Bitcoin, but in Bulgaria, few people spoke English, so the language barrier created a problem,” he said. He had a bit of cash at that point. He almost gave up.

“I spoke with a Bulgarian friend on the Internet and he told me about Grapo.bg, a Groupon-style website that accepts Bitcoins for vouchers.”

In Argentina, there was no Uber after the country banned the service. In other countries, Mr. Weis used the Bitcoin service Bitcoin Builder to pay for Uber in bitcoins. He reached out to the Argentina Facebook group, where he ultimately found a ride to the airport.

He sought out Bitcoin ATM’s, which were particularly helpful in places like Macau, Japan, and Mexico, but said there needs to be more in airports. He also noted how popular Bitcoin is popular in Venezuela.

His overall thoughts on the trip?

“The world is beautiful,” he concludes.

Goldman Sachs Wants to Mine Asteroids and Run Bank with APIs in “Radical Future” Vision

goldman-sachs-hq-is-worth-176-million-less-now-than-it-was-last-year

An asteroid just passed earth. It had £3.7trillion worth of platinum on board. Goldman Sachs wants to mine that platinum.

The multinational financial company holds futuristic visions of tomorrow, starting with the “realistic” goal of mining asteroids for trillions of dollars worth of platinum. But, the bank’s plans don’t end there. Goldman Sachs wants to transform its business model here on Earth via APIs – and, yes, the plan will cost human jobs.

Noting that asteroids can be rich in mineral platinum – which grows scarcer and scarcer here on earth – Goldman Sachs has carved out a plan to procure more for human resources in a plan of science-fiction proportions.

Related: China & Russia Are Stockpiling Gold

Platinum, which costs $1 million per one thousand cubic centimeters, sits at just under $1,000 per troy ounce on terrestrial markets for investment bullion grade metal, which is referred to as the ‘rich man’s gold.’

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” reads a Goldman Sachs report. “Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech (University) has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion [£2.1 billion].”

The firm adds: “Space mining could be more realistic than perceived.”

Goldman Sachs warns that mining asteroids for platinum could destroy platinum market dynamics, undermining the scarcity of metal, which is mainly mined in Russia and South Africa by workers paid very little.

“According to a 2012 Reuters interview with Planetary Resources, a single asteroid the size of a football field could contain $25bn- $50bn worth of platinum,” states Goldman Sachs. “Successful asteroid mining would likely crater the global price of platinum, with a single 500-meter-wide asteroid containing nearly 175X the global output, according to MIT’s Mission 2016.” This won’t deter Goldman Sachs.

“We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology,” the investment bank surmises. “Given the capex of mining operations on Earth, we think that financing a space mission is not outside the realm of possibility.”

Further, Goldman Sachs’ deputy chief financial officer Marty Chavez portends a “radical future” for the Wall Street Bank back down on earth.

“We’re packaging everything we do, and actually, we’re redesigning the whole company, around APIs,” said the executive officer of the bank earlier this year.

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs who once said the bank was doing “god’s work” felt Mr. Chavez needed a mentor.

Mr. Chavez, on his way to becoming the bank’s chief financial officer, received an email from Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

“Hey Marty, I’d like to come over to your office to introduce myself,” the tech executive wrote.

“We’ve been talking ever since about the similarities in the businesses,” Chavez told a group of computer scientists at the Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science earlier in 2017. “Some of the similarities are aspirational, I have to emphasize that, and some are there right now.” The YouTube video of the talk was recently released, and has been viewed approximately 2,000 times.

“Goldman is for risk what Google is for search,” as Chavez sees it.”Google produces software services, and those software services aggregate the attention of billions of people, and then Google sells the attention of billions of people to advertisers.”

As for Goldman Sachs?

“A client has a risk they don’t want or wants a risk they don’t have, and we make it happen for them,” Chavez explained. “This is the fundamental truth of Goldman Sachs. If the clients stop calling and talking to us about risks they have but don’t want or want but don’t have, then we have no business whatsoever.”

Goldman Sach’s Data Lake, which pools data on transactions, markets, and investment research, as well as insights from emails, voice calls and instant messages. The bank applies machine learning to the data it accumulates. The result is a guide for employees.

“What really makes us valuable is the immense amount of data that we have,” Chavez said. “In this job of inspiring our clients to call us because they have risks they don’t want or want risks they don’t have, there is incredible information content, and using that for the benefit of the clients to get a better result is what we’re up to.” Mr. Chavez compared how Google operates to Wall Street’s status quo.

“Imagine if Google had gone a slightly different route and they said, ‘Every time somebody wants to do a search, they pick up the phone, call their Google salesperson, read the search terms to the Google salesperson, who types them into the internal Google search engine, gets the results, and then reads them back over the phone,’” he pictures.

He mentions: “That is not the route Google took. Unfortunately, that is a pretty good description of how Wall Street works.”

The new Goldman Sachs is based on APIs if Chavez, who highlights the success of  Salesforce, eBay and Expedia API revenues, gets his way.

“Historically, the API has been human beings talking to other human beings over the telephone, and all the tools, the content, the analytics is on the internal platform only,” Chavez said. “We are shifting this radically and shifting this fast, and we’re packaging everything we do, and actually, we’re redesigning the whole company, around APIs.”

He adds: “We’re turning all of the verbs, all of the activities at Goldman Sachs, into APIs,” Chavez said. “One of the things we’re insisting on is a very high standard of lovely and impeccable documentation for these APIs, because we’re opening up the vertical monolith which used to have only one API point, which was human beings on the phone.”



JP Morgan’s Blockchain Researchers Discussed Ethereum’s Shortcomings Before DAO Hack



When two senior blockchain leaders left JP Morgan’s Juno project last month to start the firm Kadena.io, as reported by Quartz, it was on amicable terms.

Related: JPMorgan Publishes Code for Permissioned Blockchain

JPMorgan & Kadena Partnership In The Works?

In fact, former executive director Stuart Popejoy and JP Morgan head engineer Will Martino – who use South Park caricatures on the website in their biographies – are currently exploring a partnership with their former employer, the largest bank in the United States with total assets of $2.35 trillion.

Kadena’s conversations with JP Morgan revolve around both the initial pilot of the Kadena self-titled blockchain and other use-cases, and  a relationship with the bank could be formalized in the next few months with Kadena either as a vendor or partner. Spinning off from JP Morgan was “definitely” a professional decision for Popejoy and Martino.

“Our decision was based on the belief that the true potential of the Juno pilot would be best-served by an independent effort,” Martino told Motherboard, referring to JP Morgan’s blockchain project.

DAO Hack Foreseen By JPMorgan

Martino’s and Popejoy believe  their work serves as an improvement over Ethereum. Martino and Popejoy say Kadena’s technology would avoid blockchain crises such as the June $56 million DAO hack of Ethereum’s token, ether.

Like Ethereum, Kadena’s blockchain technology can handle payment clearing use-cases, but that’s just an “added bonus of private utility-like blockchain technology,” as Martino says. He believes blockchain technology can standardize business logic for inter-organizational relationships. This, he suggests, “could provide for terrific business acceleration.”  At the time of the DAO hack, Kadena was preparing Pact, a safe, declarative smart-contract language.

“While bugs aren’t impossible in Pact, it represents the same sober, disciplined approach found in database engineering and Bitcoin: safety is absolutely paramount in transactional computing,” Martino said.  The Ethereum hack, ultimately, confirmed a longstanding hypothesis of the Kadena founders – one they had since their JP Morgan days.

“That Ethereum’s Solidity, and indeed the EVM bytecode environment itself, is fundamentally unable to provide a safe environment for blockchain transaction execution,” Popejoy expressed.

Martino and Popejoy noticed Ethereum’s shortcomings as blockchain technology researchers in the Emerging Technologies Group at JP Morgan, which is tasked with fostering innovation within the bank. Ethereum’s design presented “a significant barrier to industry adoption of private blockchain in a multi-organizational setting.”

Is the Kadena blockchain a Bitcoin and Ethereum killer app? Popejoy and Martino believe so. Kadena can, after all,  process upwards of 7,000 transactions per second. Bitcoin is currently stuck at seven transactions per second a la the “Bitcoin block size debate.” Kadena also claims their blockchain sacrifices none of the cryptographic robustness expected from a blockchain, proving full durable security. Overall, the Kadena founders foresee a paradigm shift away from public blockchains like Ethereum.

“Private blockchain solves a raft of issues for transaction processing that normally require extensive operational and engineering expertise, including database replication, reliable and performant messaging, service discovery, high-availability, and disaster-recovery,” Popejoy said. “Remarkably, blockchain solves all of these problems in a single stroke, letting IT focus efforts on solving business problems by coding transactional logic into smart-contracts.”


Buffalo Judge Says Bitcoin is Not Money

(GoldSilverBitcoin) U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott in Buffalo, New York ruled that bitcoin is not money in a money laundering case out of Buffalo. Scott ruled instead that Bitcoin is akin to a commodity, a collectible, but not currency.

Scott’s decision may not be upheld, as the district judge is reviewing it and reserves the right to take a different position, but it does raise interesting legal questions for the digital currency.

Related: Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million in Series A

“The whole point of bitcoin is to escape the entanglement with sovereign governments,” Scott noted. “Money is not just any financial instrument or medium of exchange that people can devise on their own.”

Despite his harsh words about Bitcoin, he compared the commodity to collectibles such as “marbles, Beanie babies or Pokemon trading cards.”

Scott’s decision was based on a recommendation to U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa’s, but will likely not be upheld in higher courts.

Scott’s decision came in a money laundering case against Richard Petix, a 31-year-old Rochester man with a previous child pornography conviction.

Scott’s decision, and they were obvious in the money laundering case against Richard Petix, a 31-year-old Rochester man.

Petix, who has a previous child pornography conviction, is accused of selling $13,000 in bitcoins to an undercover federal agent as part of a drug distribution and money laundering scheme. Scott recommended the money laundering charge be dropped because bitcoin isn’t money.

Despite Scott’s recommendation, Petix’s defense lawyers are withdrawing their motion to dismiss and are now planning to take his case to trial, in part because of Siragusa’s expected decision and because they want to get the matter resolved quickly. They also claim their client is far removed from the dark net and criminal element that uses bitcoin to hide its identity and location.

“This kid traded bitcoin like other people trade baseball cards, stamps or coins,” said defense lawyer Matthew R. Lembke of Rochester.

Deciding what Bitcoin ought to legally be considered for tax purposes has been a hot topic.

“It has some mainstream appeal,” said Xiang, the federal prosecutor. “And if enough people get comfortable with bitcoin, maybe it doesn’t go away. Maybe it has staying power.”

 

Defending World Champion Cubs Don Gold for Wrigley Field Opening Night

(GoldSilverBitcoin) Anthony Rizzo is a baseball star. He is possibly the face of Major League Baseball thanks to his role in ending the Chicago Cub’s 108 year drought and role as team star. So, it’s only fitting that on the night the Cubs raised the 2016 World Series Championship banner, Rizzo delivered his first RBI of the season to walk-off against the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Monday night.

Said Rizzo: “I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball.”

Related: How a Bitcoin Accepting Securities Lawyer Profited from Cubs Game 7 Win

Before the nailbiter of a game, the banner raising ceremony was delayed for nearly two hours due to inclement weather. The Wrigley Field video scoreboard replayed Game 6-clinching NLCS win over the Dodgers.

cubs_banner_AP_2_t715

As the final out of Game 6 was recorded, it poured. The videoboard showed former Cubs catcher and member of 2016 championship team David Ross take the dance floor for Week 3’s competition on “Dancing with the Stars.”


The Cubs watched from the dugout.

The Cubs sported their gold-trim Cubs jersey, which has become a new baseball trend. The 2014 World Champion Giants, 2015 World Champion Royals and now the 2017 Chicago Cubs all wore gold-trimmed uniforms in their first homestand after a World Series victory.

wrigley-field-opening-night

Ben Zobrist missed out on wearing the Royal’s 2016 gold-trim jersey, though the Kansas City organization did send him one. He underscored the honor of wearing these jerseys and what the championship has done for the City of Chicago.

The “thank yous” are non-stop. “Recently I had a guy cry on my shoulder,” Zobrist said. “An officer from the city here.”

“Everyone needs to realize the significance of it, what it means for the organization and personally as we look back on that jersey,” Zobrist said. “We get to keep a lot of jerseys over the years, but that will be one of my favorites.”

The gold-trim jersey, which feature a gold border around the front logo, a world series commemorative patch on the right arm and a gold number and name on the back, were on sale in the Cub’s official team store for $198.

After the rain delay, the Cubs banner raising ceremony got under way. After 108 years, the former “Loveable Losers” were Champions of the World. All of the Dodgers were bundled up as lineups were announced, except for one: Clayton Kershaw. He wore just his short-sleeved gray jersey, just the same as he wore when he was rocked in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series when the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0.

After the defending World Champion Cubs had lined up one-by-one alongside the third base dugout, they made their way towards the center field brick wall to the roar of the crowd.

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg raised the banner commemorating the 1907 championship. Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins raised the 1908 banner. Billy Williams raised the 2016 National League Pennant as the crowd awaited the final banner.

Then, the Chicago Cubs raised the 2016 “Champions of the World” banner. The members of the 2016 team pulled on it one-by-one. The banner had to be knocked up against the top of the flagpole a few times to fully unravel blow in the wind.

“I love banner-raising,” Cubs eccentric manager Joe Maddon said before the ceremony. “Rings are wonderful, but I love banner-raising. That’s symbolically there all the time. Every time a kid shows up at the park, he sees that banner.”

The Cubs entered the field through the center field wall. Rizzo, the organization’s longest standing MLB player, held the World Series Trophy high above his head. The Wrigley Field PA played “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC.

“A lot of emotions seeing that video and raising the flag,” Rizzo told press after the game. “The fans deserve that. Ive been a little emotional lately for some reason thinking about all this, when they told me that, emotions ran and what an honor that is. “

Rizzo said that at one point during the night he was “fighting back tears.”

He noted: “I wasn’t expecting to get hit with that many emotions. It was amazing.”

Laura, Todd and Tom Ricketts, whose family own the Chicago Cubs, then threw out three first pitches.

The ESPN broadcast then cut to an interview with Maddon, who discussed the importance of bringing the widow of a mentor of his, as well as former Cubs manager, Don Zimmer. Zimmer’s wife, Soot, was in attendance, Maddon told ESPN viewers, by his request. He told her her late husband would be there – albeit in spirit – and so she should be, too.

The field was ready for the game. On the edge of the bases, gold plates with the World Series Champions logo shone for the camera. For one World Series hero in particular, this was the moment he’d been waiting for.

Kyle Schwarber missed most of the 2016 season – he did not record a hit during the regular season – due to a knee injury. Miraculously, doctors cleared him to be the Designated Hitter in the World Series and he played a key role in his team’s victory.

“I haven’t really got to play at home in a year so it’s really going to be special when I walk out to left and see people in the bleachers,” Schwarber said. “It’s going to be a bit of a family reunion, I guess.”

The temperature sank towards 40 degrees as the game wore on. The crowd, perhaps a bit grumpy after a long day, booed Cubs bullpen pitchers – Carl Edwards, Jr. and Justin Grimm – late in the game when they had trouble finding the strike zone.

Today the celebration continues in Chicago. Kris Bryant made took batting practice mid-day Tuesday – an off-day for the Dodgers and Cubs who resume series on Wednesday – in a Red Bull stunt.

Javier Baez, Cubs second basemen and only Puerto Rican on the 2016 championship squad, will be honored with the street “Javier ‘Javy’ Baez way” in Chicago’s Puerto Rico neighborhood.

The Cubs will wear the gold jerseys one more time, Wednesday, after they receive their Championship rings, which are said to feature 108 diamonds.

“The best part of last year is we all got to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. “[We] feel connected to each other and the fans and the organization and the city.”

Images: USA Today, WBEZ, AP, ABC

Police Take Tank Collector’s £2million in Gold Bullion Found in Vehicle’s Fuel Compartment



When a tank collector bought a new tank for £30,000 trade-in, he found more than £2million of gold bullion hidden in the tank’s fuel tank. And then, the police took the precious metals.

Nick Mead found five gold bars while restoring the Russian T54/69 he recently added to his collection of 150 military vehicles.

The 55-year old and his mechanic friend Todd Chamberlain filmed the finding of the gold in case they found munitions and needed to show it to bomb disposal crews. They found instead gold bars weighing up to 12 pounds or 5 kilograms each. The bars are altogether worth more than £2million, reports The Sun. But, the tank collector is no longer in possession of that ancient money.

He said: “We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.”

Mr. Mead owns Tanks-a-Lot, where customers can drive any of his tanks on his farm located in Helmdon, Northants in the United Kingdom. He gave up an Army lorry and an Abbot self-propelled gun to procure the T54/69 in the £30,000 after seeing the tank advertised on eBay.

They had found machine gun ammunition before finding the gold. They think the gold was looted by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait during the Gulf War where-after the tank was captured and shipped to Britain.

Nick said: “They must have cut a hole in the fuel tank and rammed it full of gold bars.”

Two officers took away the bars and gave them a receipt.

Nick said: “Even if I don’t get any of the gold back I will still have my beautiful tank.”

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman did not comment to press.