That’s the estimate for how many “ghost accounts” were created by banking giant Wells Fargo.
That’s about 1% of the total U.S. population. It’s also roughly the population of the state of Connecticut.
You’ve likely heard the story already, so I won’t go into all the details. But here’s the gist…
Wells Fargo created millions of fake accounts for its customers… to charge them fees for services that they never requested.
It was later discovered that Wells Fargo was signing customers up for unwanted insurance policies as well – again, to charge customers for services that they never requested. This was outright fraud.
It’s for reasons like this that a new type of technology has burst onto the scene. It enables secure, reliable, and transparent transactions… without the potential for manipulation by big financial institutions.
As an investor, this technology needs to be on your radar.
You Can’t Trust the “Trusted” Intermediaries
Recently, I wrote to you to give you an “inside look” at the world of cryptocurrencies. I told you that the crypto market would experience some pullbacks and high volatility. We’re seeing that today. Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, dropped about 30% this week.
But despite these pullbacks, I’ve also told you that these new crypto assets still have a long way to run in the years ahead. And the reason why can be summed up in one word: blockchain.
You’ve likely heard the term “blockchain” associated with the popular cryptocurrency bitcoin. You may even know it as the decentralized ledger technology underpinning cryptocurrencies.
But that’s only part of the story…
Blockchain technology is also known as distributed ledger technology. We can think of a distributed ledger in its simplest form as a distributed database – distributed in the sense that there are complete copies of this database (or ledger) scattered around the world.
Historically, companies, governments, and individuals all keep their records in one centralized database. Imagine a room with racks of computers that store information.
But centralized databases can be manipulated… Records can be changed, hard drives can fail, data can be lost, and the records represent only one party’s view of any given transaction.
In the world of blockchains and distributed ledger technology, the exact opposite is true. The transactions recorded on the ledger represent a transaction that takes place between the parties involved and is confirmed by the blockchain network via a consensus.
Once a transaction is written to the ledger, it is immutable. It cannot be changed.
The image below gives you an idea of the difference between these two network types.
The value and utility that a well-designed blockchain provides is remarkable. Immutability, secure transactions, privacy, transparency, the reduction or elimination of fraud…
That last part is key.
That’s because in a centralized system, we depend on “trusted” intermediaries (banks and other financial institutions) to conduct transactions.
But as we’ve learned time and time again, these “trusted” intermediaries are not at all trustworthy.
It wasn’t long ago when the LIBOR scandal uncovered that many of the most “trusted” financial institutions in the world were manipulating interest rates for their own benefit, and of course at the expense of others.
Banks like Barclays, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America, and the Royal Bank of Scotland were found to be right in the middle of these manipulations. And we’ve already discussed Wells Fargo…
The corruption is seemingly endless.
The New Internet
By design, blockchain technology removes the potential for manipulation to take place.
You can think of this as a “new” internet. Today’s internet is how we send pictures, stream videos and music, and send emails.
But blockchain networks are different. They are all about transferring value.
The internet of value will allow you to send money, fulfill smart contracts, confirm your identity without sending sensitive information, and so much more.
The way that value is transferred is typically through a blockchain’s own cryptocurrency. Each blockchain usually has a controlled, finite supply of it by design.
For example, in the case of the bitcoin blockchain, bitcoin is its cryptocurrency… its means of transferring value and incentivizing network participants.
And the bitcoin supply is finite – only 21 million will ever be produced.
Think about that… a blockchain has its own monetary policy written into its software.
It’s Not Too Late
That’s why I’m so excited about this technology.
It has the potential to rewrite our entire society the way the internet did more than 20 years ago. And the assets associated with this technology – cryptocurrency and digital tokens – will continue to soar in value.
You may think that the cryptocurrency boom has already peaked. You may think you’re too late. But consider this…
I recently came back from a blockchain conference in New York. One of the most remarkable comments made was that the “big money” (hedge funds and large money managers) isn’t really in the cryptocurrency market yet.
The total cryptocurrency market sits at around $500 billion. But the institutional funds need the market to hit $1 trillion before they can start investing heavily. And when that happens… most likely sometime this year… the crypto market will really take off.
And the institutional money will first put their dollars to work in the cryptocurrencies that have the largest market capitalizations. That means investors should be looking closely at bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Bitcoin Cash, to start.
There will certainly be some pullbacks and high volatility along the way, like we’re seeing today. But I’m here to tell you… now’s the time to get in.
Editor, The Near Future Report
P.S. The entire investing world is fixated on bitcoin’s price. But it ultimately doesn’t matter…That’s because we’ve found ways for investors to potentially make 21 times their money…regardless of what bitcoin does. See for yourself right here.