The parade of long queues at the British Northern Rock bank, that brought memories of a time many thought had long gone, feels, for some, like yesterday.
On the 12th of September 2007, exactly ten years ago, liquidity in money market borrowing dried up. With Northern Rock unable to raise funds for their short term obligations, they asked the Bank of England as lender of last resort.
Its stock shares plunged 33%, with the news spreading, and with it fear too. Endlessly long queues started forming outside of the bank as savers rushed to withdraw.
$1.3 billion was taken out in one day, on the 14th of September, accounting for around 5% of the bank’s deposits. By September 17th, another $2.6 billion had been withdrawn.
The bank was going under, and with it flairs too. A bank manager was barricaded in her office after she refused to allow two individuals to withdraw $1.3 million from their account. It was an online account, the website had crashed due to very high demand.
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor on the genesis block, announced the government would guarantee all deposits held in Northern Rock. But this was just the beginning of a series of events that would culminate in a 48 hour period when Britain and America were facing outright collapse, ATMs running out.
The Chancellor’s announcement slightly calmed the markets with Northern Rock’s shares rising 16%, but trust had collapsed and a credit crunch was underway.
No one knew how much was lost by whom in the housing bubble. Nor who would be next to see a bank run. So interbank lending froze.
Central banks started cutting rates to make borrowing cheaper, eventually falling to the current as good as 0%, but demand had dried up.
Then, Lehman Brothers announced huge losses. A deal to save the bank goes wrong. Bankruptcy is filed on 15th of September 2008. The world is on edge.
The bankruptcy was about to lead to a domino effect due to banks being very interconnected. Lehman Brother’s losses would lead to great losses for other banks, including potentially bankruptcy.
The entire system is about to collapse in the next 48 hours, Congress and Parliament is told, unless billions, if not trillions, of taxpayers money are given to banks.
Students rise from both ends of the political spectrum in Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Movement. The young in Arabia rise too during the Arab Spring. Greece goes bankrupt, the euro is about to be torn apart, Syria is razed, Britain leaves the EU, Trump is elected as President of America, Le Pen is resoundingly defeated in France. The Euro keeps itself together. Boom times return.
Just a month after Lehman Brothers filled for bankruptcy, the bitcoin whitepaper was announced on Halloween 2008. A few months later, at the beginning of the new year, its inventor pointently refers to the bank bailout.
That’s because bitcoin promises to avoid such systemic failures by providing a decentralized peer to peer payment system and clearing house. A promise that has now been recognized worldwide by the considerable adoption of blockchain technology, even by central banks.
It has been recognized by individuals too, whether rich or poor, elite or otherwise, with the value of bitcoin skyrocketing to new heights on this tenth year anniversary.
Central banks have engaged in unprecedented money printing to the tune of $10 trillion since then, leading to sky high housing prices and a one direction stock market.
Although there have been many committees, investigations, and the rest, with the blame generally laid on everyone, there is an appearance that nothing has been done to avoid such systemic failures.
It may therefore repeat again, but hopefully by then, blockchain technology would have sufficiently advanced to provide an actual solution to the mismanagement of our money, our economy, and our productive wealth.