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Peace On Earth

We're giving you another opportunity to promote Peace!

Antiwar.com logo

On Armistice Day this year, Roberts & Roberts Brokerage pledged all profits from sales that day to our favorite organization - ANTIWAR.com. I'm pleased to say that with a slight rounding up, we were able to donate one full Bitcoin to the cause of peace. For Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we made the same offer. We're still tallying up the results and it's just as good.

But it still isn't enough. So we're giving you one more chance.

Use the coupon code "Peace On Earth" on your purchase between now and December 23rd and we will again donate all profit from your purchase to ANTIWAR.com. Every dollar over the wholesale cost of all products from that purchase will go to ANTIWAR.com. This is a one time code per customer so make it count.

Recent events in the world make it seem like the threat of more war is continuing to ratchet up. It's important to be well informed about what's really going on.

ANTIWAR.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest in news and reviews and their foreign policy analysis cuts through the propaganda you get from mainstream corporate and government controlled media. If you want to know the latest and most truthful version of the news, you can count on ANTIWAR.com.

ANTIWAR.com is run by people who understand the wars abroad become wars at home, wars on our freedoms.

Randolph Bourne posited that “War is the Health of the State”. We think banks are its sustenance. The truth is that banks drive war – it’s good for their bottom line. Why use their money? By investing in Gold, Silver and Bitcoin, you are exiting the corrupt system that enables war. That’s why we use the motto – “We Don’t Feed the Banks”.

Use the coupon code "Peace On Earth" when you shop online at RRBI.co/ now until December 23rd and help support the cause of peace this holiday season.

Visit ANTIWAR.com and see what's really going on. Consider donating too!

Black Friday 2015

We've extended our Black Friday offer through Monday November 30th!

Antiwar.com logo

On Armistice Day this year, Roberts & Roberts Brokerage pledged all profits from sales that day to our favorite organization - ANTIWAR.com. I'm pleased to say that with a slight rounding up, we were able to donate one full Bitcoin to the cause of peace.

But it just isn't enough. So we're doing it again.

On Black Friday, November 27th and through the weekend until Monday, we are again going to donate all profit from every sale made to ANTIWAR.com. Every dollar over the wholesale cost of all products sold that day will go to ANTIWAR.com.

Recent events in the world make it seem like the threat of more war is continuing to ratchet up. It's important to be well informed about what's really going on.

ANTIWAR.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest in news and reviews and their foreign policy analysis cuts through the propaganda you get from mainstream corporate and government controlled media. If you want to know the latest and most truthful version of the news, you can count on ANTIWAR.com.

ANTIWAR.com is run by people who understand the wars abroad become wars at home, wars on our freedoms.

Randolph Bourne posited that “War is the Health of the State”. We think banks are its sustenance. The truth is that banks drive war – it’s good for their bottom line. Why use their money? By investing in Gold, Silver and Bitcoin, you are exiting the corrupt system that enables war. That’s why we use the motto – “We Don’t Feed the Banks”.

Shop online at RRBI.co/ November 27th to November 30th and help support the cause of Peace On Earth this holiday season.

Visit ANTIWAR.com and see what's really going on. Consider donating too!

Armistice Day Pledge for Antiwar.com

Antiwar.com logo

November 11th used to commemorate the end of hostilities in World War I, the war to end all wars. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is still observed in many places around the world with a minute or two of silence to remember those who died in war and to hope and pray for the end of war.

At Roberts & Roberts Brokerage, we wanted to do more than just hope for the end of war. So we’re putting our money where our heart is and pledging all profit from every sale made on Armistice Day to one of our favorite organizations - ANTIWAR.com. Every dollar over the wholesale cost of all products sold that day will go to ANTIWAR.com.

ANTIWAR.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest in news and reviews and their foreign policy analysis cuts through the propaganda you get from mainstream corporate and government controlled media. If you want to know the latest and most truthful version of the news, you can count on ANTIWAR.com.

ANTIWAR.com is run by people who understand the wars abroad become wars at home, wars on our freedoms.

Randolph Bourne posited that “War is the Health of the State” We think banks are its sustenance. The truth is that banks drive war – it’s good for their bottom line. Why use their money? By investing in Gold, Silver and Bitcoin, you are exiting the corrupt system that enables war. That’s why we use the motto – “We Don’t Feed the Banks”.

So give peace a chance this November 11th. Shop online at RRBI.co/

Visit ANTIWAR.com and see their great work. Consider donating too!

The War on Cash: A Look at Alternatives

bitcoin and gold bars

Over the past few years, banks have tightened the rules on cash deposits and businesses like ours have faced higher and higher fees. Legislation has been passed under the guise of cracking down on crime and requires reporting people to federal agencies if they withdraw too much cash or do it in a "suspicious" way. In the following podcast, historian Tom Woods interviews author Charles Hugh Smith who breaks down who and why government is trying to limit the ability of people to use cash.

Though they covered a lot in the interview, we want to add to some of the points they made. Another way cash was discouraged was by the elimination of bills larger than $100. This made cash harder to store and transport and bolstered the necessity of banks. Tom and Charles made a great point about the difference between digital cash and cash in hand and by making it more unwieldy to hold cash in hand; the digital cash game can stay afloat.

Also, while it’s true that the worth of our currency is being devalued by inflation and other factors, there are ways you can protect your wealth, retain custodial control of it independent from banks, and avoid the security risk of carrying around wads of cash. Of course we recommend precious metals as a store of value. Metals have a long track record of stability in times of currency crises and by using a safe to store them in a secure location you don’t have to worry about third parties limiting your access.

Another option is converting your cash to the digital currency bitcoin (the corresponding network the currency is transacted on is capitalized Bitcoin). No government or bank can stop transactions on the Bitcoin network because there is no centralized server to attack. Storing bitcoin is much more discreet than cash. In much the same way as you store your precious metals in a safe with a key that only you have access to you are also able to apply the same concept in a digital way. When you create a bitcoin wallet, it operates on public/private key encryption in which a strong password is the key that decrypts (or unlocks) the locked account. Bitcoin has the advantage of being easy to store and transport discreetly as they are stored on an app on your phone or on your computer. For an easy to use, secure bitcoin account app we recommend Airbitz.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Gold Confiscation: Myths and Facts

In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Presidential Executive Order 6102 which demanded that those who were “hoarding” gold coins turn them over to a Federal Reserve Bank or branch as this hoarding was hurting the economic recovery. It was a claim that was false but effective. Hoarding in this case meant simply possessing gold coins by holding on to them and the government used the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act as justification for this theft. The gold coins were to be taken to a Federal Reserve Bank and traded for paper currency. While Roosevelt used the excuse of the country being in a national state of emergency, the confiscation actually encouraged (by force) the use of banks as a place to store money—something many Americans were very skeptical of doing at the time. So, the goal of confiscation was two-fold: bail out the Federal Reserve and force people to use paper currency which they distrusted.

FDR Executive Order

The penalties for disobeying the executive order were harsh: a $10,000 fine and/or imprisonment not to exceed 10 years. There’s disagreement over whether or not this penalty was enforced but you did see most people complying. People were left with no choice but to convert their gold into paper currency that they then had to store in banks as paper was far less durable than precious metals.

Harry S. Truman continued this prohibition on gold as a currency when he issued Proclamation No. 2725 which forbade banks from paying debts in gold. Roosevelt’s confiscation was one of the first instances of what is now known as civil asset forfeiture. For forty years afterwards, it was illegal to pay debts in gold, with that prohibition ending under the Nixon administration.

So we see a precedent set for confiscation and this has led to various conspiracy theories about the same thing happening under the current administration. While government overreach is a serious problem, we take a practical approach when it comes to educating our clients.

Can Gold Confiscation Happen Again?

The simple answer is yes and no. If you read other precious metals blogs you may find them suggesting that you buy specific coins that they claim cannot be confiscated by the Federal Government. These coins often have numismatic value and are often sold at prices significantly higher than their gold content. The reasons for buying numismatic coins are tenuous at best and we’ve dissected the myths before. The bottom line is that if the government decides to confiscate property, no special coin will stop them from doing it. The sheer power of the state can’t be stopped by magic words or coins, unfortunately, and if a gold dealer is telling you otherwise they don’t have an understanding of history or power (or may be trying to unload coins that are steadily decreasing in value). But, how likely is it that the government will forcibly take your gold coins and would it even be practical? The truth is that it is highly unlikely they would because 1. There’s no good reason to and 2. It would be quite difficult to find all the gold people possess even with the means the government has.

The reasons given that gold will be confiscated by the government don’t hold up to scrutiny, but we’ll cover the most commonly used one: the dollar collapses and they need your gold for economic stability. In the event of a dollar collapse there will be much more to worry about than whether the government is coming to get your gold and since there’s so little of it, it would be pointless to take it for any form of debt payment. The amount of gold individuals possess in the U.S. is actually very small and much of it is held in larger depositories. Let’s crunch some numbers.

The U.S. is currently 18.2 trillion dollars in debt; the latest data from the Treasury shows that they alone hold 261,498,926.230 fine troy ounces which at the time it was recorded was worth around 11 billion dollars.

Department of Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service Status Report of U.S. Treasury-Owned Gold

The population of the U.S. is 319 million and even if we assume that 10% of the population (a generous estimate) is informed about investing in gold, we’re still several trillion dollars short of any meaningful impact on the debt.

Then there’s the difficulty of finding who owns the gold the government would want to confiscate. You can buy gold with cash at most places including here and most of the time there’s no record kept of this transaction. It would take a massive effort of the military going door to door diligently searching for this gold during a time where there would be massive civil unrest. Do you really think they would go through this effort to collect something that wouldn’t even come close to fixing the problem of a dollar collapse? The problem of the national debt is a real one but saying the government will confiscate gold to fix it is fantastical.

When you look at the numbers and think rationally about the motivations for gold confiscation, the fear melts away. Don’t fall for fear mongering gimmicks to sell you over-valued gold. While it has happened in the past, given current circumstances it is highly unlikely gold confiscation will happen and just doesn’t even make sense to do considering the arguments given. You’re in more danger of getting caught up in a suspicious activity report than government goons breaking down your door looking for gold. Gold is a solid investment for many reasons and there’s no need to make up fantasy-based scenarios in deceitful attempts to sell more.

You’re Not Allowed to Duck: Transaction Reporting Requirements

hundred dollar bills, money factory seal

When investing in precious metals, a common source of confusion is reporting requirements for various forms of payment. The Anti-Money Laundering legislation is, like most legislation, boring to read and can be tricky to understand. It was introduced as a part of the Patriot Act as a way to catch more money launderers. Few people have the time to peruse it and others claim they understand the laws yet use counterproductive schemes trying to avoid getting reported to the government.

People ask us all the time about whether we report their purchases to any government agencies and the answer is no, but there are activities that can draw government attention to you. We often have to explain to clients that trying to avoid mostly benign reports results in greater attention to them, so here’s a breakdown of why we have certain policies and advice on how to protect yourself.

Cash Transaction Reports

Cash is a more private way to buy products so many clients opt for this method. This behavior can sometimes qualify you for reporting under the FinCEN requirements. Most simply, whenever you withdraw or deposit $10,000 cash or more at your bank, they are required to file a Cash Transaction Report (CTR) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Now FinCEN sounds scary and it is because it is the agency that goes after people who violate the Anti-Money Laundering regulation. Most people have in mind drug traffickers and other unsavory types when they think of money laundering, but common law abiding citizens and even banks often get caught in their snares.

According to FinCEN’s latest available numbers (2011), banks and others filed over 57,000 CTRs a day or nearly 15 million that year. It’s likely much higher each year since then, but when our office tried to retrieve more up to date data the calls to FinCEN went unreturned.

While a CTR is a notice to FinCEN that you transacted a large amount of money, it doesn’t draw specific attention because that activity is perfectly legal. It is an aggravating invasion of privacy, but not particularly harmful as some media sources would have you believe. The report is there should you become interesting for some other reason. Our policy for cash payments is that we do not allow cash transactions of $10,000 or more because we do not want to have to file a CTR. We promote client privacy this way and wish to keep FinCEN out of our business with our clients.

One of the ways individuals become interesting to FinCEN is by making multiple transactions below the $10,000 limit, appearing to intentionally avoid the CTR. When you do this, it is called structuring. Structuring is not a way to avoid the hammer of the state and in fact will get you more notice than just transacting $10,000 or more at one time. You know what it looks like to FinCEN when you structure? Suspicious; very, very suspicious like you are trying to hide something and they don’t like that. Don’t like the CTR report – tough! You are not allowed to duck! Since we are as much under the thumb of FinCEN as banks, we are also required to report any suspicious activity, such as if a client proposes a series of related cash purchases under the $10,000 limit in order to avoid reporting. Don’t ask.

Suspicious Activity Reports

When people engage in activity that looks like structuring it is classified as suspicious activity and the bank is compelled by FinCEN to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). They have no choice to do this, by the way, because FinCEN also goes after banks that do not report CTRs or SARs and hits them with huge fines. We fall under the same requirements as banks and are subject to the same scary annual compliance training course that banks undergo.

A SAR is much more serious than a CTR and people get caught up because of the mistaken notion that the CTR is a more serious threat to their privacy. Many people know about CTRs but maybe not SARs and the kicker is that by trying to avoid a CTR, you will likely get hit with an SAR.

Ways to appear suspicious include withdrawing multiple amounts from a single bank under the $10,000 reporting threshold over a short period of time or withdrawing these smaller amounts from multiple locations and accounts. You are not notified by your bank if they file an SAR but you may find out in an unpleasant way.

What happens when FinCEN follows up on a SAR? You may come home to government vehicles parked outside your residence and agents from FinCEN ready to ask you many very invasive questions. You might get a phone call instead. Both of these things have happened to our clients. If you think a CTR is invasive, what happens when they investigate a SAR is intrusive on a much deeper level. They will ask you to provide evidence of what you spent that cash on or ask to see the cash if you claim it was not spent which means disclosing your privately held assets (like precious metals if that is what it was spent on) to a government agency. Basically, you’ll wind up having to disclose a lot more personal financial information if you conduct activities in order to avoid the more benign Cash Transaction Report.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Because we believe in client privacy, we feel compelled to warn our clients about these reports as it is a frequent mistake people make and not just with investing. We are so serious about this that we strictly enforce the less than $10,000 limit on cash transactions and have refused business from potential clients who even mention wanting to engage in suspicious activity.

The good news is that the more destructive SARs are easy to avoid. There are no gimmicks or ways to outsmart an agency like FinCEN and though people have tried, they have found themselves under the boot side of the state. Make no mistake—you should never attempt to structure in order to avoid a CTR. You are better off withdrawing the amount of money you need for your specific transaction from a single account or multiple ones if needed but do not establish a pattern that makes it appear you are trying to duck. You’re not allowed to duck and we’re not allowed to assist you in ducking. Simply paying by check, bank check or wire transfer never requires any sort of reporting for any amount so long as the check is from you and made out to the end party.

So the honest and direct answer is to just follow the regulations for your own personal protection. Don’t be fooled by people saying CTRs are more draconian than they actually are and that they can be avoided by what amounts to structuring. Furthermore, don’t trust sources that talk about FinCEN regulations if they are not in the financial industry and actually familiar with the policies. There’s no magic words you can say to avoid investigation if FinCEN wants to take it that far but you can avoid that scenario entirely by simply following the (in our opinion invasive and unjust) law.

A Story of Fraud and Silver Price Manipulation

As news breaks that certain large banks are under investigation for rigging metals markets, I’m reminded of an incident that took place years ago which opened my eyes to how metals prices are manipulated--specifically through paper contracts. We advocate taking possession of physical precious metals as the best way to secure your wealth and while the representatives of the companies involved in the probe stay silent we’re going to spill the beans on what’s really going on with futures contract delivery.

It was 2008, just before the market crises that would jump start the recession, and I received a phone call from an individual looking for assistance in taking physical delivery of their two 5000 ounce silver contracts. The broker on the client’s account had no idea how to deliver the metals promised by the contract because almost no one asks for the physical metals—they usually roll over the contract or bank any gains made. Even when the participant does decide to take delivery, they generally pay a fee and leave them in the custody of the vault.

Each silver contract represents five unique bars, each approximately 1000 ounces. Each individual bar has the “Hallmark” identifying the manufacturer, the actual weight and the purity of the bar. A single 1000 ounce bar is the size of a large loaf of bread and weighs about 70 pounds which is hardly easy to move or store if you did decide to take delivery outside of custody. But that’s not the function of futures contracts anyway; they are set up to be used for hedging or trading like other financial instruments. A contract gives you the ability to buy at a specific price at a set point in the future or the option to not execute the contract if the market price is lower.

When people trade paper contracts, they also affect the market price of metals. If these contracts can be manipulated by traders or other sources by short selling it distorts the price across the board and can be lucrative for those in the game but disastrous for others.

We were looking at moving a significantly large amount of silver – over 700 pounds - and had everything set up to make the trade but found that the process was being delayed. After some searching, I was finally able to get in touch with an HSBC worker in charge of managing the physical metals. When I asked why it was taking so long the trader casually remarked, “Oh we have to assign new bars to release these bars from other contracts.” Not believing what I had heard, I asked him to repeat it and he said the same thing; that the silver bars for my client’s contract were also promised to other clients and they had to be released from those obligations.

The HSBC worker had assumed I knew how the game works because I was a broker but then realized I was a broker who dealt with physical precious metals not futures contracts. Realizing the significance of his admission, I tried to get him to repeat it again so I could record it, but he had realized the gaffe and curtly told me, “It will all be taken care of this afternoon.” And the call promptly ended.

I think this is direct evidence of fraud. If someone promised you that you own a specific item and told that to multiple other people--it would be fraud. Not only do multiple people think they own the same unique item, it provides the illusion of higher availability of above ground silver. There’s less physical metal than is represented by paper yet the market price does not reflect this disparity. More implied supply would effectively result in lower silver prices.

By asking for actual physical delivery, we interrupted HSBC Bank’s fraudulent scheme. Now, HSBC is not new to controversy and when they’re not fraudulently promising multiple people the same metals, they’re laundering money to Mexican drug cartels. But I digress.

The trade was taken care of that afternoon and it’s a story I tell clients regularly. It’s why we don’t recommend paper contracts as a method of investing—mainly because you’re not in possession of the metals, but it’s also unethical how traders game the system and manipulate prices. We’re not sure how often this happens because it’s very rare that anyone tries to take delivery of any commodities contract and in this case it was likely due to a misunderstanding by the client of how paper contracts work. But the ramifications of the trader’s admission are seen every day. While manipulation of metals markets can occur in a variety of ways; that multiple paper contracts are backed by the same pile of metal is disturbing and highly unscrupulous.

Despite price manipulation in metals markets, we still believe they are a good way to diversify your investments as long as you make sure you are in physical possession of them. The price can only be suppressed for so long, so now is a good time to take advantage of these low prices.

2015 Silver American Eagles Now In Stock

We are pleased to announce the arrival of 2015 Silver American Eagle coins. These exquisite coins are great for investors and make beautiful gifts with their classic design and promise of purity backed by the U.S. Mint.

You can purchase them in any denomination from one Silver American Eagle to a sealed box of 500 or more. All coins are uncirculated and brand new straight from the Mint. Grab yours today!

Overstock CEO Dr. Patrick Byrne Talks Bitcoin, Stocks, and More

Dr. Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com and investigative journalist, sat down with Roberts & Roberts office manager M.K. Lords to discuss bitcoin, stocks, and the current economic situation. They took questions from the live audience and some of Byrne's comments may surprise you. Watch the whole interview in the video below and catch M.K.'s show Crypto Convos twice a month on Youtube.

$100 Minimum Permanently Removed on All Orders Paid with Bitcoin

We love bitcoin so much that we have decided to permanently remove the minimum $100 limit on all orders paid with bitcoin. If you're looking to buy a smaller amount of precious metals, this is great news. Holiday season is coming up, so now is the perfect time to give the gift of quality precious metals. This deal is also excellent for those looking to accumulate metals gradually in small quantities.

Savvy investors know the importance of diversifying your investments and we believe bitcoin enthusiasts understand this principle too, so we want to show our appreciation of this emerging technology and the people who make it thrive.

Buying bitcoin to take advantage of this deal is easy and safe. Simply go to coinbase.com to purchase bitcoin through your bank account or localbitcoins.com to turn your Federal Reserve Notes (dollars) into what some have called "magical internet money."

Don't be discouraged; bitcoin is a widely accepted currency accepted by many major retailers including Overstock.com and Dell computers. Other precious metals brokerages accept bitcoin too, but we want to emphasize our support of the bitcoin community by giving you this special--and permanent--deal when you choose to use this innovative new technology.