I usually have fun looking at Jeff Opdyke’s teasers — he writes the Sovereign Individual letter for the Sovereign Society, and he often picks up on little foreign stocks that pique my interest (as you’ve probably noted, I have a soft spot in my heart for obscure stuff that’s sometimes hard to trade — it’s a personal weakness).
Not that they’re all tough to buy, of course — or worth buying. He has teased at least halfway intriguing stuff like the California land owner Limoneira and the laser company Cymer, but he also got revved up about the silly Greenland rare earths stocks that everyone seemed to adore in late 2010 … so let’s see whether we’re enamored of he’s pitching this time.
He starts with his take on the “paperless money” pitch that we’ve heard a few times before, from folks touting well-known stocks like Mastercard (MA), Visa (V) and Verifone (PAY), but then it gets into a bit more of conspiratorial spiel:
“As you know, the world’s paper currencies are deflating faster than a punctured balloon…
“But what you may not realize is that dozens of central banks – including the Fed – are starting to abandon the paper money system… and force us into a new, trackable currency.
“According to the New York Times, the U.S. government is ‘shredding and burying’ billions of dollars in landfills… enough to fill 1,750 dump trucks each year.”
So it’s not just that we’re going paperless with our credit cards for convenience and speed and efficiency, it’s also that the gummint is pushing us all in that direction so we can be tracked. Not that this mightn’t be true on some level, I dunno, I just know that these kinds of “hide from the government” pitches are the heartbeat of the Sovereign Society and the other “get your money offshore or hide it where they can’t find it” newsletter publishers, and they must work very nicely to pull in new subscribers.
But the pitch continues — we get a few pages about how governments are printing fewer and fewer banknotes, and how despite the endless “printing press” of the Fed those dollars are not actually being printed, it’s all just digital money floating around. Which you probably knew already — it is, after all, expensive to print money … all that fancy ink and anti-counterfeit technology and the strong cotton paper so the dollar bills can survive being put through the wash in my pants pocket, and still they don’t last long and have to be replaced by new bills every couple years.
And he paints a picture of the dying greenback as well — not the currency (though that’s happening as well, he says), but the actual bills … with some retail outlets now not even accepting cash for purchases.
So that all serves as the backdrop: cash is already mostly digital, and it’s going to get more so, with more and more transactions happening electronically — which doesn’t just mean the end of the anonymous transaction, it also means there are new systems and services for handling electronic payments. Which gets us to the pick he’s teasing — it’s somehow connected to cell phones (don’t worry, I’m sure it’s not the same pick David Gardner over at the Motley Fool has been touting for a year or so as his “death of the credit card” stock).
So what are the clues?
“The easy money has already been made in the telecom business. And while AT&T and Verizon pay some incredible dividends, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see their shares triple… or quadruple in price anytime soon.
“That’s what has me so excited about a tiny