In 2012, membership fees were £7,200 – now they’re £18 million

Ever heard of the Vladimir Club, dear reader?

It’s a real exclusive outfit. No riff-raff allowed.

If you’re a member, you’ve probably got vaults in your name in Switzerland, a Learjet service on speed-dial, and a wine cellar big enough to fit a bowling alley in.

Membership is officially capped at 10,000 people, but the number of those who have actually done what it takes to get in is significantly lower. You see, the benefits that membership bestows are very specific, and you’d only really want membership if you’re a shrewd investor (or want to brag about the size of your wallet).

Who those people are though, is mostly a mystery – the membership roster is kept private. Hell, the man who founded the club, an individual who went only by “Vladimir”, hasn’t been heard from in public since 2014.

Considering how wealthy some of these fellas have got since then, I don’t blame them for keeping their identities close to the chest. But as we’ll explore in today’s note, it looks like some of them were up to something, early in the afternoon on Monday…

Right now, getting access to the club the traditional way costs £17,988,811.33. But it’s not so much about the money.

You see, you have to do something very specific to get into the VC. And a few years back, the cost of doing that was much lower.

Many of the members who did what it took weren’t wealthy at the time; it was the very act of joining the Vladimir Club that has since made them rich.

And as we’ll explore, it’s still possible to join today – without paying the millions…

The 0.01% club

To be a member of the Vladimir Club, you need to own 1%, of 1%, of an asset’s total supply.

It was an idea proposed by a user with the handle “Vladimir” back in 2012, who thought that owning 2100 bitcoin was a good quantity to aim for.

Bullish on BTC and with supply capped at 21,000,000, owning 0.01% of that seemed like a good idea.

He was damn right. Getting into the Vladimir Club via bitcoin in 2012 was a hell of a lot easier than it is now, and would have rewarded you in a way that only crypto profits can in the years to come.

As I said earlier, access to the Vladimir Club costs nearly 18 million quid today – but back in 2012, memberships were going for chump change by comparison. To buy 2,100 BTC that year it would have cost you roughly between £7,200 if you bought at the lows that year and £33,600 if you bought at the highs.

The Vladimir Club has since become a metric for 0.01% ownership cost of any asset. It is used mostly in the crypto world, but it doesn’t have to – it can apply to any asset which has a finite supply.

For example, to join The Vladimir Club of gold you’d need to acquire 24.4 metric tonnes of it (0.01% of total gold on earth, excluding gold in space). The price for Vladimir Club “Gold membership” is considerably higher than for BTC – you’re looking at the fat end of £1.2 billion at today’s prices, and that’s assuming you don’t move the market with such a large order.

But if you want to get a membership pass to the Vladimir Club, you don’t need to fork out the billions. There are plenty of smaller assets out there where buying 0.01% of total supply ain’t nearly so expensive.

That’s where my colleague Sam comes in – looking to get in early and cheap into innovative new crypto projects, so that a 0.01% stake can mint you a fortune. He’s been writing about the latest happening’s in that space in today’s Exponential Investorclick here to give it a read.

I bring up the Vladimir Club today as it looks like somebody either tried to join, or retired their membership on Monday.

Here’s a chart of the BTC price this week in dollars, with the size of the transactions running across the network indicated in blue.

It’s quite a busy image, so click it to enlarge – I’m focusing on that tall blue bar:

Source: ByteTree

As you can see, on Sunday there was a cascade of selling in the BTC market (a lot of this was attributed to traders getting ahead of themselves with leverage). But the next day at 2pm, some $1.1 billion in BTC was spent in a short period of time.

While not all of this will have been just in one transaction, you can see that the rest of the week hasn’t seen anything like such a large amount flowing across the bitcoin network in such a short space of time, so it’s likely that only a few – or even just one – individual was behind the transfer. Considering the proximity, they may well have been connected to the big selling the day before as well.

Somebody getting out of the Vladimir Club? Or possibly somebody getting in? Or maybe both – a membership swap? You can buy a lot more than just one membership pass in a billion dollars though.

Let’s watch. I’ll keep you informed if anything else wild happens – which in the bitcoin space, is effectively guaranteed…

I’ll be back again tomorrow, where we’ll take a look at the other constituents of “The Wingnut Portfolio” – gold and silver.

In the meantime, any guesses as to Vladimir’s true identity? boaz@southbankresearch.com.

Wishing you a happy hump day,

Boaz Shoshan
Editor, Capital & Conflict

PS If the movements of the “Vladimirs” are new to you, we covered them quite a bit last year when there were similarly strange happenings afoot in the bitcoin space: Thar she ₿lows! (13 September 2019).

Category: Investing in Bitcoin

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