Cryptos: Dogecoin nears 75 cents, then slips as crypto pioneer Silbert seen betting against parody coin ahead of Elon Musk’s ‘SNL’ guest-host gig

Call it the “dogefather” versus the godfather of crypto.

Barry Silbert, a power player in the digital-asset sector, said he’s betting against dogecoin DOGEUSD, -8.92% and is urging investors in one of the hottest trades in 2021 to convert their doge holdings into bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.72%.

The missive from Silbert comes as the chief executive of Tesla Inc. TSLA, +1.33% and SpaceX and one of dogecoin’s most vocal champions, Elon Musk, is set to guest host NBC’s late night comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.”

Check out: As dogecoin price tops 60 cents, Elon Musk says ‘please invest with caution’ ahead of ‘Saturday Night Live’ guest-host gig

Fans of dogecoin are hopeful that the Tesla CEO may offer a bullish word or two on the doge, which was created in 2013 as a lighthearted riff on bitcoin, but has now taken on different significance amid a nearly 14,000% surge in value in 2021.

At last check Saturday evening, dogecoin was changing hands at 63.9 cents on CoinDesk, off about 14% from its 24-hour peak at 74.08 cents.

Some view the asset as the perfect example of an asset bubble.

Musk, however, on April 28 declared himself the dogefather, ahead of the ‘SNL’ spot.

Dogecoin’s moves have been primarily pegged to Musk’s comments in social media, in recent weeks and months.

Silbert is considered a luminary in the world of digital assets, after founding two of the most widely known enterprises in crypto: Grayscale Investments, which runs the popular Grayscale Bitcoin Trust GBTC, +3.71% ; and the Digital Currency Group, which also owns CoinDesk. He’s also been an early investor in companies like trading platform Coinbase Global COIN, +2.70% and Ripple, a blockchain-focused startup behind the cryptocurrency XRP XRPUSD, +1.58%. CoinTelegraph ranks Silbert as the No. 5 most important person in decentralized digital assets.

Read: Dogecoin price’s ‘make-or-break’ moment looms with Elon Musk set to host ‘Saturday Night Live’

Silbert’s tweet effectively creates a face-off between billionaire investors.

Musk boasts a networth of $166 billion, while the DCG founder’s networth is $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Doge devotees have very publicly set a target of $1 for the coin in 2021, a number that might seem extremely modest at first glance but not when viewed through the lens that Doge traded at $0.005 on the final day of 2020.

Even more bullish dogecoin holders, view their price targets at $5 and beyond.

Interest in dogecoin can’t really be overstated. In Google trends over the past week, it has eclipsed searches for COVID and coronavirus and Elon Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” is trending on Twitter.

Google

So far, the meme currency has enjoyed a spectacular ride compared against most other assets. Gold futures GC00, +0.04%  are down 3% so far this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.66% and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.74% are up by nearly 13% in 2021, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.88% has gained about over 6% so far this year.

However, even Musk offered a note of warning on Friday, suggesting that investors buy cautiously.

Next Avenue: New rules about eating, exercising and sleeping as you age

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

Aging is a natural process that involves direct damage to cells and an accumulation of cellular waste, says Dr. Frank Lipman. Our ability to repair this damage decreases over time, but the extent and speed of that decline varies — a lot.

Diet, activity, rest and stress all play a role in aging, Lipman says. And that’s good news because it means we have some control over the course of how we age.

Lipman is a medical doctor and practitioner of Western and Chinese medicine. He’s also the founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness in New York City, a treatment center that works with patients to get healthy and stay healthy. His book with co-author Danielle Claro, “The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program for Immune Resilience, Strength and Vitality,” is a practical guide to strengthening your immune system and reversing the symptoms of aging.

I interviewed Lipman about the lifestyle strategies he recommends to guide people toward aging well and living well longer. Highlights:

Barbara Sadick: In your book, you say people come to you with aches and pains, exhausted and gaining weight. They assume these are symptoms of aging. Are they?

Dr. Frank Lipman: Most of us have been programmed to believe that growing older is synonymous with getting tired, fat, slow, forgetful and having no interest in sex or the loss of the ability to perform. The real obstacle for most of us isn’t age. It’s loss of function.

Our bodies are perfectly capable of remaining healthy and vigorous and our brains can absolutely stay clear and sharp if we treat our bodies properly and [do] not abuse them.

You say it’s more important than ever to prioritize immunity and overall wellness. Would you elaborate on what you mean?

The immune system fights infection. How well your immune cells function is a direct response to how well you take care of yourself.

When you take good care of yourself, the immune system’s self-cleaning mechanism or autophagy kicks in. Autophagy is digestion of cellular waste by enzymes of the same cells. Those cells clean their own waste. When autophagy is working well, your body recovers faster and better.

As we’ve seen, people with co-morbidities (more than one disease or condition) have worse reactions to COVID-19.

You write that our daily life choices affect our overall health. What are some of those lifestyle choices we should be aware of?

People need to be aware of things like what and when they eat, how they move their bodies, how they deal with stress, how they sleep, how kind they are to others and whether they hold on to resentments.

Food, you say, plays a major role in optimizing health. What kinds of foods should people eat as they age?

Research shows that to age well, we have to eat less and consume fewer calories.

Sugar is a major inflammatory [substance] and should be gradually cut out of your diet.

Eat dinner earlier and breakfast later and eat only within an 8- to 10-hour period of the day.

As much as you can, eat fresh, natural, real food that doesn’t come prepackaged and won’t go bad if not refrigerated. Move away from processed foods.

Eat non-starchy vegetables and other greens and stop eating when you feel 80% full. 

We are commonly told that we should eat three meals a day, with breakfast being the most important. Is this true?      

Contrary to popular wisdom, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day and can be skipped entirely. Try eating only two meals a day between late morning and early evening and then fast until the next day. That gives the body a rest from digesting. 

Cut down animal protein to once a day. If you like red meat, make sure it’s organic and grass-fed, but generally eat more plants than animals.

Drink lots of water, cut out sodas and juices and drink your coffee black if you can.

Don’t miss: Want to age at home instead of a nursing home? Consider this first

You write about how good hydration is important to the body’s well-being. How can we increase the amount of water we add to our bodies and why is it so important?

As we age, the amount of water in the body decreases. Water is vital to regulating body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, delivering nutrients to the cells and keeping the body healthy. Drink at least three to four glasses of water a day and drink throughout the day.

It’s not uncommon that as we age, we don’t realize when we are thirsty or when our bodies need water.

Sleep, you say, is critical to improving quality of life. What kind of changes can people make to optimize healthy sleep?

Sleep is a rhythm of the body affected by light and darkness. Instead of using too much artificial light at night, begin to dim the lights for a good hour or two before going to bed. Turn off all laptops, TVs and other sources of artificial light and make the room as dark as possible.

Keeping a regular sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking at the same times every day creates a good and healthy sleep pattern.

See: 3 reasons to sleep more: avoid dementia, have great sex and become a better investor

We know that being physically active improves our quality of life. How can more physical activity be incorporated into daily life?

Throughout the day, move your body as much as you can. Get up and move around. Daily movements like bending and cleaning are much more important than going to the gym.

Find an exercise you can enjoy and stick with it. As we age, it takes longer to recover from injury, so choose exercises that won’t injure you easily.

Also see: Want a happy retirement? Have at least this many hobbies 

You write about the negative effects of social isolation. As we age, why is it important to maintain and expand our social circles?

Studies show that people who are not part of a ‘tribe’ don’t age as well. We all need some kind of community, people with whom we are comfortable.

Being sociable, belonging and having a sense of humor helps keep your mind active. Loneliness is detrimental to your health and studies show it can contribute to many illnesses from heart disease to dementia.

You also write about the importance of inner health to aging well. What do you mean, and would you give some examples?

To maximize your inner health, you’ll need to let go of grudges and anger and forgive people. Confront your issues in whatever way you can, including consulting a therapist, and take up some kind of mindful healing practice like meditation, somatic healing [a form of alternative therapy that uses mind-body exercises to release pent-up trauma] or religion.

Read: 5 ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia, according to new research

If you aren’t able to let go of anger, you only punish yourself. The longer you hold on to it, the more negative effects it will have on your body and mind.

What changes should people who take your advice be seeing as they age?

Aging well is about being vital, happy and continuing to be able to do the things you enjoy for decades. How you age has everything to do with the choices you make and what you put into your body and mind. If you make the suggested lifestyle changes, you will look good, be energized and feel well, happy, sexy, agile and strong.

Barbara Sadick is a freelance health writer whose stories have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Kaiser Health News, AARP, Cure and others. 

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

More from Next Avenue:

Dispatches from a Pandemic: COVID-19 was never going to have a tidy Hollywood ending

The coming months will be messy, frustrating and prolonged — just like the coronavirus pandemic story so far.

The long, slow march of the pandemic was always going to be slightly messy, given people’s wavering approach to risk, vaccine hesitancy and increased socializing, not to mention relaxation of handwashing, mask wearing and COVID-related social-distancing practices. 

The expectation of herd immunity making the world much safer may be a fine goal, health professionals say, but it’s not entirely a realistic one given the number of people who will not get vaccinated due to fears about side effects or for other political and ideological reasons.

And how can the U.S. return to relative normalcy when parts of the developing world, and notably India, have descended into hellish conditions in which vaccinations have not kept pace with the escalating rate of infections and deaths, and oxygen is in short supply?

The Biden administration restricted travel from India beginning Tuesday due to “extraordinarily high” caseloads and multiple variants.

“I am afraid that our vision of life returning ‘to normal’ sometime this summer is slipping out of reach,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, the George and Esther Gross Presidential Professor at the University of Utah and head of the university hospital’s pediatric infectious-diseases unit.

‘The whole world changed in a couple of days. Getting back is going to be a whole lot more complicated.’

— Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan

“That vision depends on reaching a really high level of population immunity so that the virus is not consistently spreading,” he said. “It is likely that Israel will see the kind of suppression of COVID that we dream of. We probably will not unless we do better.”

As the U.S. continues to ramp up vaccinations to those who want to get them, the rollout has been much slower in Europe. Other countries, meanwhile, have barely gotten started.

In the U.S., 34% of the total population is fully vaccinated and more than 45.6% have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Joe Biden said Tuesday he is aiming to have 70% of adults in the U.S. have at least one vaccine dose by July 4, up from 58% currently. 

“When I think back to a year ago, the whole world changed in a couple of days,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer in the divisions of infectious diseases and geriatric medicine at the University of Michigan and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “Getting back is going to be a whole lot more complicated.”

With 32.7 million recorded infections, the U.S. has the world’s highest total caseload of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. The U.S. also has the most confirmed COVID-related fatalities (581,498), followed by Brazil (421,316), India (238,270), Mexico (218,657) and the U.K. (127,863).

Coronavirus Update: India becomes second country with case tally above 20 million

“There is a next phase in sight, if not an end in sight. COVID may not be completely gone, but it will be in the background,” Malani added. “Being on a happy hour on Zoom ZM, +0.75% is not the same thing as being together on someone’s patio, but it’s OK short term. Humans need to be with humans.”

Like  Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Malani said that “herd immunity” is not a term she is entirely comfortable with.

Once the first wave of vaccinations is complete, it will be hard to convince the holdouts to get the vaccine, she said — and progress won’t happen evenly. 

“The focus needs to be on preventing outbreaks and getting people vaccinated,” she said. “There will be communities where the vaccination rates will be very high, but if you drive 50 miles in another direction, there will be very low vaccination rates. In my community [in Michigan], I anticipate that the summer and fall will look a lot more normal.”

See: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine expected to get FDA authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds next week

The fifth pandemic in 100 years

Pavia is not so sure. “I am less sanguine that we can open up in a gradual and thoughtful way, given the politics and fatigue,” he said. And if we don’t? “Most states will have low to moderate ongoing transmission and death, with periodic spikes and superspreader events.”

“Some level of background transmission is probably inevitable, but the question is how much suffering are we going to have to put up with,” he added.

Indeed, people have different reactions to the perceived risk depending on the government’s policies restricting or not restricting economic activity during COVID-19, according to a paper released this week by a team of researchers at Stanford University; Duke University; and Westat Inc., a data-research firm in Rockville, Md.

Consumers who believe that they face a higher risk of infection are more likely to report avoiding economic activities, and yet government rules restricting economic behavior reduce that relationship between perceived risk and protective behaviors, they found. 

‘Most states will have low to moderate ongoing transmission and death, with periodic spikes and superspreader events.’

As for a slow winding down where everyone is vaccinated and people act according to CDC guidance, “it isn’t going to happen,” Dr. Gregory Poland, who studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response at the Mayo Clinic, told MarketWatch.

“There is no nice, neat bow to tie this up. We have already rejected that,” he said. “Other countries have not. You can go to New Zealand and Australia: no masks, because they decided to take a science- and evidence-based approach. We, for the most part, have not.”

People are complicated and unpredictable, Poland said. “We will have on-again, off-again outbreaks — just like we had after the holidays, despite the warnings,” he added. “We are just coming out of the spring-break surge. The wise among us who are eligible have gotten vaccinated.” Some people from marginalized or underserved communities have also faced structural barriers to vaccine access. 

“I wrote a thesis on the plagues of the 1500s and 1600s in Britain,” Poland said. “Martin Luther wrote a letter about how to manage the [bubonic] plague that was raging through England. He said, ‘I will distance myself from people who have the sickness.’ ”

“They were doing all the things that we are still arguing about 500 or 600 years later. George Bernard Shaw said the one thing we should learn from history is that we never learn from history. People engaging in political and economic manipulation prolonged this.”

“If we had said in February [that] everyone should wear a mask, this would be done and over with,” Poland added. “But 1 out of 575 of us is dead from a disease that we could have prevented. When you lay out the cold, hard facts, you throw up your hands and say this is irrational.”

This is the fifth pandemic in the last 100 years, Poland said, citing the 1918 flu pandemic, 1957 “Asian flu,” 1968 “Hong Kong flu,” the AIDS pandemic and 2009 swine flu pandemic. And there were near-misses with Zika, Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.

Poland said writers like John Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” did a forensic analysis of previous pandemics that the world could — and should — have learned. One of the many takeaways: During the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 million people, wealthier people had a better chance of survival.

‘Pathologically narcissistic culture’

In 2021, poorer countries are, for the most part, bearing the brunt. Until enough people are vaccinated, experts warn, countries will institute ad hoc isolationist policies to protect themselves from rising infections elsewhere. The latest such measure: Australia told citizens not to return from India, or be prepared to face fines and possible jail time.

Travel bans on citizens of certain other countries will likely persist. “There will always be risk of reintroductions from overseas until we have vaccine equity, but in a highly vaccinated population, those reintroductions would have a hard time spreading,” Pavia said.

“I try to be an optimist in spite of what we have seen in the last year,” he added. “I hope we can continue to make vaccines readily available to those for whom access is challenging, continue to answer people’s fears and questions to increase confidence.”

The politicization of the pandemic and people’s drastically different reactions to it across the country will be less easy to solve, Poland said. And how countries act in a global context is critical. “To be isolationist is wrong. Until the globe is vaccinated, none of us is safe,” he said.

‘People with zero knowledge of science feel very safe and comfortable sharing that ignorance with others.’

On Monday, Moderna MRNA, +1.65% said that it will supply 34 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the Covax initiative, an organization of Western governments to deliver vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies. The Pfizer-BioNTech partnership PFE, +1.00% BNTX, +9.35% and AstraZeneca AZN, +0.62% had already signed up. 

In the U.S., some states have dangled economic activity and social mobility as the carrots, and the vaccination rate as the stick, pledging to lift restrictions based on the amount of people who get the shot. With 55% of the population vaccinated, in-person work will be allowed in Michigan, and so on as more people get vaccinated.

“If you haven’t accepted the pandemic as being a significant issue, and you don’t want to be vaccinated, then maybe you haven’t been taking significant precautions,” Malani told MarketWatch. “I feel like things will move in different directions across the board.”

“In some places, things already look pretty much normal. I’m starting to see that in Ann Arbor, but in responsible ways. There’s something comforting about that. Everything that’s outdoors will go back to normal sooner. Indoors will be a slower process.”

She is hopeful that people will learn from 2020. “The culture has shifted around if you are sick, you don’t come to work or go to an event,” Malani said. “Before COVID, people went to work sick. Some of those things will stay with us. Each day, week and month we learn more.”

“High-school seniors are having graduation ceremonies, and they’re having proms, but they’re doing it outside and they’re doing it after they’ve been vaccinated,” she added. “Campuses are starting to look more like a normal campus, and that makes me very happy.”

Poland feels less confident. He believes there needs to be a fundamental shift in American thinking and a rethinking of American exceptionalism for sustainable, long-term progress to happen. “We are a pathologically narcissistic culture. We are a ‘me’ not a ‘we’ culture. How did they manage to handle it so well in Asian countries? They are a ‘we’ society.”

He blames “scientific illiteracy and the false notion of democratization of expertise” and said we should put scientific knowledge first. “People with zero knowledge of science feel very safe and comfortable sharing that ignorance with others, and making decisions based on that ignorance.” 

“When you reject science as a way of knowing, then you end up where we are,” he added. “Who are we as a culture that we were so prone to that? How is that possible? It’s just a tragedy. I truly believe that the John Barrys 100 years from now will be at their wits’ end trying to explain this.”