Did A Raging Fire Burn Down JPMorgan’s Gold Vault?

As a reminder, it was Zero Hedge who broke the news in March about the location of JPM‘s vault, namely that it can be found 90 feet below street level at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza (located over half a mile away on Liberty and William Streets). Which is relevant, because as the FDNY reports, and as the video clip below vividly confirms (with the Federal Hall National Memorial distinctly visible in the background), the fire response was focused on the area on Broad street between the New York Stock Exchange and what is now the 15 Broad Street block.

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So did a sweeping fire “take place” (in broad daylight and in front of video camera armed streetwalkers) providing the fire brigade a pretext to abscond with JPM‘s gold on orders from above, or merely give JPM an alibi to say it’s gold is “gone… all gone” or rather “burned… all burned” (leaving aside the propensity of a fire to propagate in the confined oxygen constraints to be found on top of the Manhattan bedrock and far below street level)? No. For the simple reason that 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza is over two blocks away from where the fire did take place as can be seen on the map below:

In other words, if there was a “fire” in JPM‘s vault, the response would have been not at 15 Broad Street, but over half a mile away at the perfectly fire-accessible Liberty Street (between the NY Fed and 1 CMP), across from the real JPM vault fire doors which can be seen in the following interactive image:

And yes: those who may suggest that any amount of gold tonnage may have been quietly moved over two blocks by the Fire Brigade have never actually carried the not-so-light-bars of gold themselves, especially not in broad daylight.

So why the confusion?

It appears the confusion stems from the Fire Brigade‘s designation of the fire as taking place at “JP Morgan’s building” which indeed is where the Fire Brigade was located. However, it is the 23 Wall Street building, also known as the “JPMorgan building” formerly owned by JPM, and subsequently owned by Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, best known for being the site of the September 16, 1920 Wall Street bombing, when 38 people were killed and 400 injured. Ironically, as was then reported, “because the Morgan building was so well known, many assumed that the target of the assumed anarchist bombing was actually the bank itself.”

For modern generations, 23 Wall Street may be better known as the (incorrect) facade of the NYSE as represented in The Dark Knight Rises.

Of course, JPM has long since moved on from its landmark location just across from the NYSE, and now can be located at its Park Avenue headquarters (with its Bear Stearns annex), and of course, at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza.

So what is now housed in the 15 Broad/23 Wall Street block to where the FDNY was responding, if not any JPM? 23 Wall and 15 Broad Street were sold in 2003 for $100 million to Africa Israel & Boymelgreen (there is likely a far more interesting story surrounding Africa Israel and Boymelgreen here than there is about the “fire in JPM‘s vault”). The two buildings have become a condominium development, Downtown by Philippe Starck, named for French designer Philippe Starck, one of a growing number of residential buildings in the Financial District. Starck made the roof of 23 Wall into a garden and pool, accessible to the residents of the development.

Could there be a vault in the Downtown residential building, and could the FDNY have been responding to a fire in such a “commercial vault”? Of course: as anyone who has ventured into the skyscraper forest of New York‘s Financial District knows, there is an underground vault in virtually every building.

Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-21/did-raging-fire-burn-down-jpmorgans-gold-vault

Gold Nanoparticles Give Plastic Skin Life-Like Senses

Gold Nanoparticles Give Plastic Skin Life-Like Senses

Human skin may very well be one of the world’s most impressive sensor arrays. Able to detect temperature, pressure, touch and pain simultaneously, your skin’s sensory receptors feed you a constant data stream about the environment around you. Now, researchers have given much of that sensing ability to plastic e-skin.

Unlike prior skin-mimicking systems that could only detect touch, the new flexible sensor system developed by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology senses touch, humidity and temperature simultaneously, with touch sensitivity 10 times greater than current e-skins. Technion’s system uses a network of interconnected gold nanoparticles 5-8 nanometers in diameter, laid over a base of flexible polyethylene terephthalate (soda bottle plastic), to measure changes in the environment. Bending the e-skin, for example, brings the nanoparticles closer together or farther apart, changing the electrical conductivity between them. The scientists are able to change the material’s sensitivity by altering the thickness and construction of the base layer, enabling strain or crack detection in a variety of industrial applications.

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Of course, the most exciting potential application is prosthetics, where touch and temperature sensitivity could could for the first time offer skin-like sensation. Paired with next-generation prosthetics that more closely mimic natural human hardware, this e-skin could eliminate many of the limitations faced by amputees, and bring us one step closer to the Terminator cybernetic future we’ve all been dreaming of.

Source: http://gizmodo.com/gold-nanoparticles-give-plastic-skin-life-like-senses-718022021

Regulation Means The Bitcoin Gold Rush Will Not Happen In The US, Say Experts

bitcoinsEurope is better positioned as a better place to create Bitcoin-based startups than the US. That was the message coming out of Bitcoin London toay, the first major conference in London to cover startups, investors and business models. Covering the broad sweep of businesses, technologists and institutions involved in the Bitcoin space, the conference heard that the US may have made a fatal strategic mistake in classifying Bitcoin as if it were money so early on in its development.

What has emerged is that Bitcoin is being treated in many different ways: as money, as an asset class, as the first highly secure P2P global information exchange, as a technology platform and even as a if it were a startup entity in its own right.

Constance Choi, General Counsel with Payward sounded exasperated on stage at the conference: “Having to explain Bitcoin at Federal and State level is a nightmare.” She said the Treasury response was that the 50 State system is just “a fact of life”, a “a barrier to entry” and it up to the Bitcoin sector to survive.

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“There is incredible potential for Bitcoin if not as a unit of exchange but as a secure global network for information exchange,” she said.

But despite this potential to be many other things, she said FinCEN (the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) has basically said “Bitcoin is not money, but it is in the ‘money bucket’.”

“You see competing voices for jurisdiction [at government agency level]. You can call it money or a payment instrument. There are lots of different labels on Bitcoin.”

She said that although regulators in the US don’t think Bitcoin is money “it acts like money so it’s being treated and regulated in this way.”

In the UK the Financial Services Authority doesn’t consider Bitcoin to be ‘fiat’ money or eMoney.

And at a wider European level, the European central bank has taken the view that Bitcoin is not money and doesn’t require regulation yet. That turns out to be a huge advantage for Europe.

“There’s been a more reasoned approach in the EU… Because these are no regulatory regimes there is a lot of room to work out which rules might fit in and what rules should apply.”

Choi said the US is “5 years behind the EU” in payment innovation.

Her comments were backed by at the conference by Bitcoin Foundation General Council Patrick Murck, who said competition between US government agencies to regulate Bitcoin was creating barriers for the ecosystem to thrive.

Certainly there appears to be early signs that Bitcoin startups may desert the US for less regulated climes.

Speaking to TechCrunch at the Bitcoin London Conference, Jonathan Rouch, founder of Bits of Gold in Israel, said he has no plans to launch his service for creating Bitcoin liquidity in the US because of the potential for regulatory intervention.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/02/regulation-means-the-bitcoin-gold-rush-will-not-happen-in-the-us-say-experts/