Majority of Dutch also want referendum on EU membership

“The majority of Dutch people want a referendum on whether or not the Netherlands should stay part of the European Union, like the Brits are doing later this week. In a poll by EenVandaag among 27 thousand people, 54 percent voted for a so-called Nexit referendum.  Should there be a referendum, the EU-opponents will only barely not have a majority – 48 percent think currently think that the Netherlands should leave the EU. 45 percent are for EU membership.  PVV voters are the biggest EU-opponents, with 94 percent being for a Nexit. 50Plus voters come in second place with 63 percent for and SP in third with 58 percent.”

ECB corporate debt buys unexpectedly high in first full week

“The European Central Bank bought 1.9 billion euros worth of corporate bonds in its first full week of purchases, at the upper end of market expectations, signalling a strong start to its latest measure designed to revive inflation.  Unveiled in March as part of a 1.74 trillion euro asset-buying plan, the ECB started buying investment grade, non-bank corporate bonds on June 8. It hopes that lowering corporate borrowing costs will induce companies to invest, boosting inflation and economic growth.  Sources with direct knowledge had earlier said the ECB was hoping to lure new issuers to the market and would buy 5 billion to 10 billion euros worth of corporate debt per month if new debt sales ramped up.

German court rules that ECB’s 2012 bond-buying plan is legal

“The country’s highest court ruled that the ECB’s 2012 bond-buying plan called Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) is legal under the German constitution.  OMT – though never actually used – was part of ECB’s President Mario Draghi’s landmark promise to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the battered euro at the height of the crisis in 2012.  The promise of OMT was that the ECB could, if necessary, buy up unlimited amounts of government bonds from debt-stricken countries that had pledged reforms such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.  Critics charged that the ECB is essentially printing money and lavishing it on states, leaving taxpayers with the risk of one day having to foot the bill.”

John Hussman: Brexit and the Bubble in Search of A Pin


“Think of the EU, in its current ill-structured form, as a kind of Ponzi scheme, and Britain as the guy who just asked for his money back. There are undoubtedly greater prospects for near-term disruption after last week’s vote, but the hallmark of a Ponzi scheme is the attempt to use progressively greater distortions in order to preserve a structure that is fundamentally unsound and increasingly bankrupt. Of any large country that could leave the EU, Britain was the best first mover. I have no immediate concerns about a domino effect, but if one was to emerge, my view is that the exit of Germany, France, and the Nordic countries would be preferable to the exit of Greece, Italy, Spain, or Portugal.”

Sweden tests blockchain technology for land registry

“Sweden is conducting tests to put the country’s land registry system on blockchain, the underlying technology supporting the digital currency bitcoin, the Swedish Land Registry said on Thursday.  Swedish blockchain company ChromaWay, consulting firm Kairos Future, and telecommunications service provider Telia have come up with a framework or the so-called ‘proof of concept’ through a white paper and technical demonstration of how the Swedish land registry would work on blockchain.  The blockchain technology works by creating permanent, public ‘ledgers’ of all transactions that could potentially replace complicated systems such as clearing and settlement with one simple database.”

Populist, Eurosceptic Party Takes Italy by Storm

“Seven years after its founding, the Five Star Movement has come into its own as the prime opposition party in Italy, staunchly challenging the establishment status quo, and pledging a new era of transparency and a return to self-government.  There seems little question that the results of municipal elections went beyond local politics, indicating an important shift among Italian citizens.  Sunday’s victories for the Five Star Movement are added to its prior holdings, notably the important Italian cities of Parma and Livorno.”

Second Scottish independence vote ‘highly likely’ after Brexit

“Scotland’s first minister has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” after the UK voted to leave the EU.  Nicola Sturgeon said it was ‘democratically unacceptable’ that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.  She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.  Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.  The UK as a whole has voted to leave, by a margin of 52% to 48%, prompting UK Prime Minister David Cameron to announce he would stand down by October.

Switzerland withdraws longstanding application to join EU

“The upper house of the Swiss parliament on Wednesday voted to invalidate its 1992 application to join the European Union, backing an earlier decision by the lower house.  In the aftermath of the vote, Switzerland will give formal notice to the EU to consider its application withdrawn, the country’s foreign minister, Didier Burkhalter, was quoted as saying. Switzerland’s longstanding application to join the EU has not had a significant impact on the country’s politics for more than 20 years, as its accession negotiations have been suspended since 1992 in the wake of a referendum to join the European Economic Area, when the Swiss voted down the idea of closer ties with the EU.”

Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK voters choose to leave EU

“Prime Minister David Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.  The PM had urged the country to vote Remain but was defeated by 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.  UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s ‘independence day’, while Boris Johnson said the result would not mean ‘pulling up the drawbridge’.  Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘absolutely determined’ to keep Scotland in the EU so a second Scottish independence referendum was now ‘highly likely’. The referendum turnout was 71.8% – with more than 30 million people voting – the highest turnout at a UK-wide vote since 1992.”

Bitcoin rival Ethereum fights for its survival after $50 million heist

“On Friday, thieves exploited a software bug that allowed them to transfer more than 3.6 million ‘ether’—the base unit of the Ethereum currency—out of The DAO’s coffers. The digital loot made up more than a third of The DAO’s 11.5 million ether endowment. The seized booty is valued at anywhere from $45 million (based on the plummeting value of ether following the attack) to as high as $77 million (based on pre-attack exchange rates). In the days following the theft, there have been at least a half-dozen copycat attacks (for instance, as documented here and here) that combined have purloined more than 785 ether.”