Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR . (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on Bitcoin recovery expert David Veksler. (See the Cryptos section.)
First up, over at Sharps Pixley: Lawrie Williams: Russia May Now be World’s No. 2 Gold Miner 
Cryptos (David Veksler):
One of my regular consulting clients in the American Redoubt recently told me a tale of woe with a very happy ending. Here is how “Bob” told it to me. (Pardon any factual errors, because I’m relating all of this second hand): In early 2012 Bitcoin cost a relative pittance — less than $10 USD would buy an entire Bitcoin (BTC). So, on a whim, Bob invested $100 in Bitcoin. That bought him around 13.5 BTC. Then he essentially forgot about it, until in early 2017 he heard news that the Bitcoin market was heating up. The news? The cost of buying 1 BTC exceeded $1,000. That really caught his eye.
Bob remembered that he had his Bitcoin wallet stored on an old laptop computer that had died back around 2015, due to a failed motherboard. He also realized that he probably hadn’t made a copy of the Bitcoin wallet, and he only had a vague recollection of the passphrase that he had chosen. Now in a minor panic, he removed the dead laptop’s hard drive and attached it to a “sled” disk drive USB adapter , and connected it to his new laptop. He was not a happy camper when he found that the old laptop’s 250 GB drive was corrupted and only about half of the files were working. But at least he saw a “wallet.dat” file. He breathed a sigh of relief and copied that wallet file to several 4GB memory sticks, and put them in various safe places.
Then, just a few month later, Bob read that Bitcoin had jumped to $2,500 per BTC. So he gave one of his 4GB backup sticks to his son the computer wizard, and asked him to check on the status of his Bitcoins. His son soon had bad news: “The wallet is corrupted, Dad. You’re probably out of luck.” Then, together, they spent many hours going through his entire collection of backup disks and backup CD-ROMs. Most of these were old 100MB ZIP disks. Mournfully, they found that there was no backup of the crucial “wallet.dat” file.
Watching The Roller Coaster
As the year 2017 neared its end, Bitcoin kept climbing higher and higher versus the US Dollar. By December, it cost $19,000 to buy one “coin”. This made Bob’s seemingly unretrievable Bitcoin wallet worth about $256,500. Ouch! This situation was starting to cost him some lost sleep. So Bob contacted his other adult son–also quite tech savvy–and gave him another one of the 4 GB backup sticks, as well as the original corrupted hard drive. Bob asked him to do some research, and see if there was any way to recover the lost Bitcoins. He promised him a 1 BTC fee, if he was successful. Bob also wrote down five different variations of his passphrase for him, to the best of his recollection.
In January, 2018, the price of Bitcoin suffered a major retreat, dropping to around $6,500 per BTC. During this time, Bob’s son used several pieces of off-the-shelf recovery software in his quest. But he didn’t make much progress. He was able to determine that the wallet held just over 13.5 BTC, but he was unable to access it. After conferring by phone, they decided to hire an outside consultant. After doing some background checking, they hired David L. Veksler. He is well-known in the cryptocurrency world, and he has published many articles on the subject of crypto wallet security  and Bitcoin, in general . Mostly of these have been for the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) . Veksler’s small company is WalletRecovery.info . They charge a recovery fee of 20% of the value for wallets under 10 BTC and 10% for wallets over 10 BTC. This is done with an informal contingency contract. (The client pays nothing unless they are successful at recovery.)
A Happy Ending
Only a day later, David Veksler had good news for Bob: He’d had been able to recover the wallet! All that Veksler then needed was a new Bitcoin receiving address to send the recovered coins to. Done. Project complete, with no muss, and no fuss. Bob now had just over 12 BTC in his new wallet. (There was also a small amount that Veksler recovered from a separate “post-fork” wallet.) Bob directed his son to keep 1 BTC for himself, and then to buy 10 hardware wallets in which to distribute just over 1.1 BTC each. When I last checked, it cost $10,040 to buy 1 BTC. That makes Bob’s 12-and-a-fraction in BTC now worth around $122,480. That is not a bad return on a $100 investment!
Needless to say, Bob now keeps much better records of his passphrases, and keeps multiple backups of his wallets at different locations. (In case of fire.) And he’s in the process of examining how to diversify into two or three other cryptocurrencies, to hedge his investment. He asked me to make a special mention of David Veksler and WalletRecovery.info  in SurvivalBlog, saying: “To call him ‘highly recommended’ is a genuine understatement.”
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Here is a fascinating Sovereign Man audio interview: Simon Black’s Crypto Update 
By way of the great Alt-Market blog: The Dollar – From Bohemia To Bust 
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Economy and Finance:
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Next, at Zero Hedge: Household Debt Rises By $572 Billion, Ends 2017 At All Time High . A total of $13.5 trillion!
Reader H.L. flagged this at Alt-Market: Stockpile For A SHTF Situation: Nine Ammo Storage Tips Every Gun Owner Should Know
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Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR . (Either via e-mail of via our Contact  form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” investing news. We often “get the scoop” on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!