Crypto Bulls Wrestle Back Control of BNB after Binances $40 Million Hack

By CCN: Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in terms of volume, suffered a massive blow on May 7 when hackers ran away with 7,000 bitcoins. At the time, the total haul was valued at roughly $40 million. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao was quick to reassure their user base by stating that the exchange will cover the damages through the Secure Asset Fund for Users, or SAFU. Nevertheless, some Binance Coin (BNB) holders panic-sold under the assumption that CZ would dump BNB to pay for the damages. They were wrong. In this article, we show how Binance Coin remains unfazed by the recent 7,000 bitcoin hack.

Binance Coin Maintains Parabolic Run Against Tether (USDT)

On the day of the hack, BNB plunged by 6.89% against USDT as it opened at 22.2018 and closed at 20.6602. The bleeding continued until May 10 when the market dropped to as low as 18.30 for a total loss of 17.57% due to the hack. Since then, the BNB market has been incredibly bullish.

Binance Coin chartBinance Coin chart

Binance Coin in the pedal to the metal mode even after the hack | Source: TradingView

A look at the daily chart shows that the pullback from the hack was nothing but a setup for a big comeback. Bulls resumed the parabolic run on May 10 and have not looked back since. On its way up, it converted former resistance of 24 into support. On May 25, Binance Coin even made a fresh high against Tether at 35.4888.

From the low of the hack, BNB is up by 90% against USDT. More importantly, it looks like the ascent is not going to stop soon.

Binance Coin Looks Awfully Strong Against Bitcoin

Binance Coin performed poorly against bitcoin following the security breach. On May 7, it opened at 386,230 satoshis (0.0038623) and closed at 353,680 satoshis (0.0035368) for an 8.43% drop. The plummet continued until May 11 when the market nosedived to 276,450 satoshis (0.0027645). All in all, Binance Coin suffered a 28.42% loss against bitcoin due to the theft.

Binance Coin BTC chartBinance Coin BTC chart

Binance Coin recovering nicely after the hack against bitcoin | Source: TradingView

In the chart above, you see how the bulls used the drop to convert former resistance of 280,000 satoshis (0.0028) into support. Once that level was cemented, Binance Coin went on a strong V rally and climbed as high as 436,050 satoshis (0.0043605) on May 24. That’s a staggering growth of more than 57.73% from the low of 276,450 satoshis (0.0027645) on May 11.

In addition, Binance Coin appears to be forming a large symmetrical triangle on the daily chart. This pattern suggests a continuation of the current bullish trend. If our read is correct, the crypto might go as high as 500,000 satoshis (0.005) in the next few weeks.

Bottom Line

The hack may have stalled Binance Coin’s run against Tether and bitcoin. Nevertheless, the crypto remains unfazed. It has not only managed to recover all losses, but it also skyrocketed against both USDT and BTC. Bears should closely reconsider their position or risk getting slaughtered.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Elon Musks Insane Payday: 40,668 Times the Median Tesla Salary

By CCN: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is bringing home the bacon. So much bacon that his peers will have to settle for the scraps. According to the latest New York Times compensation report, Musk was the highest paid chief executive of 2018. And it wasn’t even close.

The polarizing entrepreneur pulled in a whopping $2.3 billion last year, overshadowing the next 65 contestants combined.

Elon Musk Secured a Cozy 4.6 Million Percent Raise in 2018

Elon Musk Tesla CEO payElon Musk Tesla CEO pay

Elon Musk secured a staggering 4.6 million percent raise in 2018. | Source: New York Times

Chief executives on the list received a median pay increase of 16.4% in 2018, up from around 9% in 2016. The CEO pay ratio has also slightly increased as the median employee gets paid almost 277 times less than their top management counterpart.

Elon Musk’s compensation package, meanwhile, ballooned an unbelievable 4.6 million percent in 2018. He made 40,668 times the median Tesla employee salary of $56,163.

Musk’s compensation package is largely tied to performance goals. The only trouble is that a large portion of it is linked to Tesla stock options. Shareholders approved a massive 10-year compensation package for the CEO back in March. Musk, however, must continue to hit certain milestones over the next ten years if he wants to cash in on the deal.

With indices at lofty levels and a horrendous Tesla stock price chart, the embattled EV leader may be more than just a little worried. He owns plenty of Tesla shares already (approximately 20%). Paper profits are, after all, meaningless until banked.

Tesla is Bleeding Cash at an Unbelievable Pace

The company’s stock price isn’t the only thing that’s swirling in the crapper. The electric motor company is bleeding cash out of every orifice. Its future success (or failure) appears to lie with the Model 3, a lower-priced sedan the company is hoping to push into the hands of the general public.

The trouble is, Tesla will need to sell them in large numbers. And sell them fast. The company has a terrible reputation for meeting its sales and production goals, a trend that can also now be seen with the Model 3.

Tesla stock priceTesla stock price

Tesla stock continues to nosedive. Where will it find support? | Source: Yahoo Finance.

Tesla reported losses close to $700 million for the first quarter of this year. It still has cash reserves of $2.2 billion, but the margin for error continues to shrink. At the company’s earnings, call Musk responded to shareholders and analysts alike as they probed him on the need to raise more capital:

“I don’t think raising capital should be a substitute for making the company operate more effectively. So that in that sense, I think it’s just, it’s important to have strong financial discipline of the company and just to make sure we don’t have extraneous expenses and we’re just being frugal with capital.”

That’s a fitting statement. One the board should probably revert to when considering such an outrageous pay scheme.

And possibly for the CEO’s salary too.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Maui Hiker Who Vanished 2 Weeks Ago Found Alive

A Hawaii hiker who was missing for 16 days after entering a park in Maui has been found alive.

Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor, was spotted by rescuers on Friday. They were flying over the island’s Makawao Forest Reserve when they located her “deep in a creek bed between two waterfalls,” according to a Facebook page set up to inform the public about the search efforts. Eller and the rescuers saw each other at the same time, and she flagged them down for help.

“She is just as strong as we always said she would be,” a post on the page reads. “We knew she could make it this long.”

Photos of Eller appear to show her still in the same white tank top and gray athletic leggings she was last seen wearing on May 8 before she arrived at the forest.

Eller apparently became lost in the area after suffering a slight injury. An additional image posted to Facebook shows gaping wounds on her ankles, though the cause is not stated. 

The ravine where she was discovered contains a fair amount of rocky terrain and is surrounded by densely wooded areas.

Makawao Forest Reserve where Amanda Eller was found alive Friday.

Makawao Forest Reserve where Amanda Eller was found alive Friday.

Eller was reported missing on May 9, a day after she was last seen. Police found her white Toyota RAV4 in the parking lot of the park with her wallet and cellphone inside and her car key under the front tire on the driver’s side.

Her family speculated that she might have gone for a run, noting it was common for her to unplug and leave her belongings behind. However, questions emerged as to whether she might have been kidnapped or died.

Search efforts organized by the family and community continued for days, involving long hikes, dogs, divers and a drone.

Hours before Eller was found, her family publicized an offer of $50,000 for anyone with information on what they thought could have been an abduction.

In a Facebook post Satuday, Chris Berquist, one of the rescuers in the helicopter that located Eller, praised those who worked tirelessly to find her.

“I can’t even BEGIN to express how moving this whole effort has been,” he wrote. “The depth of the dedication to this group and everyone that helped support it. WE DID IT!!!!! With drive and love and perseverance, this community brought her home!”

Dow Teeters on Knifes Edge as Trumps Trade Crusade Hits Japan

By CCN: President Donald Trump flew to Tokyo today for high-stakes trade talks with Japan as stock market sentiment teeters on the brink of collapse.

The maverick president’s erratic approach to international trade has taken a significant bite out of the Dow Jones (DJIA) over the last few weeks.

Bulls will be desperate to see Trump’s bromance with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe survive the weekend, lest the US find itself plunged into another brutal trade conflict.

Dow Risks Severe Backlash if US-Japan Trade Talks Sour

The US-China trade war dominates the global stock market outlook because they are the largest economies in the world, as well as two of the most interlinked. However, the Trump administration’s disputes with key allies like Japan also threaten the Dow Jones and other major indices.

Japan is a vast economy in its own right, and there is a significant US military presence in the country. The talks between Abe and Trump will likely focus heavily on defense spending.

The elephant in the room, however, is the auto industry.

Global Stocks Will Recoil if Trump Launches New Offensive in Trade Crusade

Trump knows that struggling US auto-workers form a crucial component of his blue-collar base. Japan, meanwhile, remains a dominant force in global car manufacturing.

If Trump pushes a harder line with Abe, he likely will take on the EU as well. The subsequent fallout could be disastrous for the Dow.

Shinzo Abe, stock marketShinzo Abe, stock market

Shinzo Abe will be desperate to avoid further Trump auto tariffs. | Source: Shutterstock

If Trump starts squeezing his allies for a good headline, we could find the world’s four largest economies – the US, China, Japan, and Germany – involved in a multi-dimensional, growth-stifling stand-off.

The outlook for the Dow and other major indices gets even bleaker when you consider that the United Kingdom sits at number five. Ravaged by Brexit, the British now have to decide on a new leader with the risk-negative Boris Johnson currently the betting favorite.

Analysts Break Out the Dreaded ‘R’ Word

The sudden escalation to the US-China trade conflict has already led analysts to break out the dreaded “r” word: recession.

Here’s Morgan Stanley:

“If talks stall, no deal is agreed upon, and the US imposes 25% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of imports from China, we see the global economy heading towards recession.”

And that’s without the additional pressures that Trump’s spats with Europe and Japan could cause.

Even worse: Given ballooning stock market valuations, the potential for a recession was high anyway.

What investment banks remain reluctant to discuss is what would happen if Trump exports his trade war to his friends as well as his foes. In this circumstance, the $600 billion estimated losses from Trump’s current trade war would be chump change.

Dow Jones Forms Dangerous Technical Pattern

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The Dow failed to set fresh highs, forming a head and shoulders pattern on the monthly chart. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Further darkening the market’s outlook, the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently formed what looks alarmingly like a head-and-shoulders pattern on the monthly charts.

This tells us that the bulls have been buying the dips, but there aren’t enough buyers to push the index to fresh highs.

If Japan produces a tremendous pro-Trump headline, stocks could rally once more. However, given the current set-up, price spikes are meaningless until the Dow can confirm a new breakout to the upside.

A Million People Could Lose Their Pensions If Congress Doesnt Act

FAIRMONT, W.V. ― Joe Brown worked for more than 30 years as a roof bolter at the Federal #2 Mine in Marion County. Installing roof supports is one of the most hazardous jobs in coal mining, essential to the safety of all the other miners. Even though Brown’s lanky 6-foot-3 frame made bolting easier for him than others, he’s had four surgeries ― two on his back, two on his knees ― as a result of his decades at the mine.

But the union job helped Brown and his wife, Jo-Ann, buy a modest ranch house with a yard big enough for a ride-on mower, and put their three now-grown daughters through school. A small sign hangs on a tree beside Brown’s driveway, just across the street from a church: “Welcome to Brownsville, population 5. Mayor: Joe Brown.”

The mining work also assured him security in old age through retiree health coverage and a defined-benefit pension ― crucial perks that made the dangerous work and risk of black lung disease worth undertaking for Brown, who was one of just a few African Americans in his mine. When his injuries forced him into early retirement and onto disability in 2002, the benefits became even more vital.

“It was in writing that the pension would be secure,” Brown, now 78, said on a recent afternoon, taking a break from remodeling his bathroom. “A pension ’til I pass away ― that was the deal.”

But the pension plan through the United Mine Workers of America that Brown and 86,000 other retirees rely on is on track to be insolvent in about three years, which could result in deep cuts to once-guaranteed monthly payments. A growing number of plans are in similarly bad shape. If nothing is done, the coming rash of insolvencies could torpedo part of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, or PBGC, the government-run corporation that insures defined-benefit pensions.

Brown’s is what’s known as a multiemployer pension plan. Anywhere from a handful to hundreds of companies contribute funds to these plans on behalf of their workers, with payments negotiated through union contracts. The plans are common in the construction, transportation and service sectors, providing a portable benefit in cyclical industries where workers frequently change jobs. But many plans have run into trouble, losing their stream of income, as industries change and unionized employers go out of business.

While most of the 1,400 multiemployer plans in the U.S. are not in any danger, some 130 plans are projected to be insolvent within 15 to 20 years. The PBGC’s multiemployer insurance program, which would need to step in to help cover pension payments for those plans, is expected to go under by 2025 if lawmakers don’t intervene with a plan to save it.

Brown currently receives around $1,300 a month through his pension ― which, combined with his and his wife’s Social Security and the income from her part-time job, is enough to cover their basic expenses. If PBGC’s program collapses, his pension could be worth almost nothing.

The only real options for policymakers are to increase contributions by employers, shave benefits for retirees, or provide plans with government aid, such as federally backed loans ― an idea that has already drawn “bailout” criticisms from conservatives. The most likely course is a combination of all of the above.

It’s the sort of politically complex crisis that the modern, do-little Congress is uniquely ill-equipped to handle, with the security of 1.3 million pension recipients hanging in the balance. A special joint committee created expressly to tackle the problem blew its own self-imposed deadline last November and failed to pass a bill, forcing lawmakers to start over this year.

“This is not simply about pensions; it’s as much about who we are as a people and our expectations for the role of government,” said David Brenner, a pension expert at Segal Consulting, a firm that advises multiemployer plans. “We shouldn’t turn our back on people who trusted and believed their defined-benefit pension would provide them with an income stream for life.” 

‘This Is Going To Devastate People’

It isn’t hard to see why a large pension plan for coal miners is in trouble right now. Despite what the president claims, the coal industry continues to decline as power plants shift to cheap natural gas and close down coal-fired generators. There were 52,000 coal miners working in April, down from 178,000 in 1985, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For all of Trump’s deregulation on behalf of coal operators, only around 2,000 mining jobs have been added since his inauguration more than two years ago.

“I started in 1975. Back then you could quit a job one day and go to work tomorrow at another,” said Roger Merriman, who put in 28 years at Federal #2 with his friend, Brown. “We were pretty strong back in the day. But our membership dwindled due to mines closing down.”

Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, says bankruptcy courts have allowed coal operators to she

Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, says bankruptcy courts have allowed coal operators to shed their obligations to retirees.

The vastly smaller workforce has left the miners’ pension plan with way more money going out the door than coming in. According to the union, there are about 12 retired miners collecting pensions for every active miner working in the plan ― a startling, and unsustainable, ratio.

The financial crisis didn’t help, with the 2008 stock market crash battering the pension fund. Ironically, its survival is now hitched to coal magnate and longtime union opponent Bob Murray, the chief executive of Murray Energy. His company is the last major employer chipping into the fund. If it goes bankrupt, the pension plan won’t last long.

Multiemployer pension plans have traditionally had lighter funding rules and lower insurance premiums than single-employer plans. After all, they were supposed to be safer. With so many employers paying in, a plan could afford to lose a company here or there due to bankruptcy or closure without putting the whole fund at risk. And, to be sure, most multiemployer plans are not hurting right now, with almost 60 percent deemed financially secure by the PBGC.

But many of the endangered plans have run into trouble for reasons unique to their industries. Take the Teamsters Central States, the largest endangered fund in terms of unfunded liabilities. The plan includes 385,000 participants and more than 1,000 contributing employers, mostly in the trucking industry. On the current trajectory, it will be unable to pay pensioners their benefits in seven years. Back in 1982, the plan had two active participants for every inactive one. That ratio has more than flipped: Now there is just one active participant for every five receiving benefits.

The trucking industry hasn’t disappeared the way coal has. In fact, trucking companies are growing in a strong economy and are looking for more drivers. What’s changed is how few of them are union shops. Deregulation of the industry starting in 1980 opened the door to smaller, non-union operators, shrinking the Teamsters’ footprint over the years. As a result, a plan that was underfunded even in the good days has deteriorated even more.

The falling rate of unionization in the U.S. has squeezed many multiemployer plans, all of which rely on contributions through collective bargaining agreements. Just 6.4 percent of private-sector workers are unionized, compared to 20 percent in 1983. Meanwhile, the shrinking base of employers chipping into the funds has pressured those who remain. Some companies decide it’s better to exit the plan and pay a penalty, fearing higher liabilities down the road. 

This is not simply about pensions; it’s as much about who we are as a people and our expectations for the role of government.
David Brenner, multiemployer pension expert at Segal Consulting

That was apparently the calculus of shipping giant UPS, which left the Central States in 2006, taking nearly a third of the plan’s active participants with it. When companies exit a plan they must pay withdrawal liabilities, which are based in part on the fund’s current value. UPS exited the plan near the peak of the stock market ― good for UPS, terrible for the fund. Much of the company’s $6 billion lump sum withdrawal payment to the Central States got wiped out in the market crash that followed.

Many other companies have left pension plans by going bankrupt. Some 22,000 of the participants in the mine workers plan worked for companies that have declared bankruptcy in just the last few years, according to the UMWA. The union argues that bankruptcy courts have provided a legal means for employers to unfairly shed their responsibilities to pensioners. When coal giant Peabody went bankrupt in 2016, the union said the company owed $643 million to the pension fund; the union got just $75 million in bankruptcy court.

“A lot of it falls on the downturn of the coal market. But a lot of it falls on the bankruptcy courts, allowing these companies to walk away from their obligations,” said Merriman, whose mine changed corporate hands multiple times and is now out of operation. “A company files for bankruptcy, we are the last in line to get our money.”

Merriman is what’s known as a pension “orphan”: the company he worked for no longer pays into his fund. Through no fault of his own, his benefit has become a burden to the current employers still contributing. Orphans make up a disproportionate share of the participants in the plans now teetering on the edge of insolvency ― nearly 28 percent, compared to just 10 percent in healthy plans, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

One of the big political hurdles facing any rescue plan is how few Americans have a defined-benefit pension these days compared to decades ago. Most employers have switched to 401(k) plans that put the financial risk on workers. Lawmakers who view pensions as an anachronism ― or a cushy union benefit ― are less likely to get behind a plan that includes federal aid.

But pensions are really just deferred pay. Workers forwent raises over the years so they would have some money when they retired. In the case of multiemployer plans, the pension benefits are also pretty modest.

“These are people who worked physical jobs and the benefits they’re getting aren’t something you can grow fat on,” said Jean Pierre-Aubry, a researcher at the Center for Retirement Research. “This is minimal support for people who helped build the nation.”

The average benefit in the Central States plan is around $15,000 per year, far from enough to cover housing, food and other basic costs. The PBGC might guarantee less than $10,000 of that benefit, depending on the retiree’s years of service. And if the PBGC goes under, retirees in any multi-employer plan that becomes insolvent could end up with pennies on the dollar.

A pension ’til I pass away ― that was the deal.
Joe Brown, retired coal miner

Dale Hanner, a former diesel mechanic and Teamster who now advocates for Central States participants in North Carolina, noted that some recipients are widows or widowers receiving already-reduced benefits of their spouses who passed away. He said he knows one woman, a diabetic, who gets $385 per month and needs it to buy her insulin.

“This is going to devastate people,” Hanner said. “It’s going to put them in survival mode and I don’t think Congress understands that.”

‘A Moral Obligation To Retirees’

Some pensioners are already seeing cuts to their monthly payments, due to a bill Congress passed and former President Barack Obama signed in 2014 allowing multiemployer plans that are in financial trouble to reduce benefits under certain circumstances. The law has been highly controversial since it watered down an earlier, landmark law designed to protect benefits. The Treasury Department has signed off on applications from 13 funds seeking to make cuts and has rejected five.

But the cuts alone won’t necessarily stave off insolvency for individual plans or the PBGC itself. Policymakers have toyed with other methods of stabilizing them, such as requiring higher contributions from employers or further raising the premium rates they pay to the PBGC. But they fear that doing so could spook more employers out of the plans, further burdening the remaining pool of contributors.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation this year to finance loans for trouble plans, to be administered by a new agency that would be created inside Treasury. Pension funds would pay interest on the loans for 29 years and the principal would be due in the 30th, but the loans could be forgiven if plans couldn’t repay them. Even though the bill included four Republican and four Democratic co-sponsors when Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) introduced it in January, many conservatives will likely balk at the idea of government-backed loans for private pension funds. 

John Murphy, a Teamsters international vice president, said he expects the plan to pass the Democratic-controlled House but face a tougher road in the GOP-controlled Senate. He said if plans like the Teamsters’ go under, the federal government will lose taxes levied on pension benefits, while retirees will have to rely on social assistance programs.

“This is not a bailout,” Murphy said. “The official policy of this government is to protect workers’ pensions. I think that creates a moral obligation to retirees.”

He added, “These senators are going to have to look senior citizens in the eye and say ‘I’m not going to help you.’”

West Virginia lawmakers and the UMWA are pushing a plan to shore up the union’s pension plan with excess funds from the government’s abandoned mine land program, which provides grants to states to remediate polluted mining sites. The AFL-CIO federation of 55 unions has endorsed the miners’ plan. The legislation might do little for the Teamsters and other funds that are on the brink, but it would help restore at least one of the largest and most troubled plans to health. 

Cecil Roberts, the president of the UMWA, said the key to any legislative fix is the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky senator hasn’t allowed any plan to go to the floor for a vote, but he is facing reelection next year and represents a big coal state. McConnell would want the pension issue taken care of before next fall, especially if Democrats can put up a viable challenger against him. 

“He can either be the obstacle or the catalyst here,” Roberts said. “We’re hoping the senator realizes that there are a lot of retirees in Kentucky who need these pensions.”

Merriman hopes to make it to the miners’ next rally and lobbying effort at the U.S. Capitol, but his health issues don’t always make such trips easy. Now 67, he’s had five heart attacks and two open-heart surgeries. Much of his $981 monthly pension goes toward co-pays and medicine for him and his wife. Even with good health insurance through his union, retirement has become more expensive than he imagined.

At the end of the month, he added, “there’s really nothing left.”