I have no head for business, let alone international exchange rates. And if you take business advice from me we’re both idiots. But while doing some research I recently came across what may be the business opportunity of a lifetime. Or it could be a three day old trout. But don’t listen to me, I’m a monetary nincompoop. I am an economic imbecile. What I know about money you could print along the margins of a seven dollar bill. Asking me investment advice would be like asking the White House for assistance in a timely manner. Could we get the original of that memo for emergency CPR in triplicate, please? Our secretary needs a copy for her files.
So I can’t be trusted to judge any investment opportunity. What do I know about business? Nothing, that’s what I know. But it’s the convergence that has got my adrenaline pumping, here. Convergence is when two perfectly good concepts usually kept apart for perfectly good reasons get forced together, usually for perfectly lousy reasons – as if Seth Brundle from “The Fly” walked into his transmission booth with a copy of “An Open Letter To The Christian Nobility” by Martin Luther in one hand and a copy of “Juiced” by Jose Canseco in the other. Bad things will come from this – or maybe we’ll all get rich.

Here’s the deal; I found a company on line selling Iraqi currency. Without going to Iraq, without going to your neighborhood bank, without having to consult some expensive experienced financial advisor, you and I could buy 25,000 new Iraqi Dinar for only 45 bucks. Does that sound like a bargain or what?

The company is called BetOnIraq.com, and the name says it all. Bet. On. Iraq. Dot. Com. What more is there to say?  Well, according to the fine print,  “We can’t predict the future or offer any financial advice.”  So these guys are just like me. They don’t know what the hell they’re doing. What a deal!  $45 for 25,000 Dinar?  Listen, when you can buy 25,000 of anything for a lousy forty-five dollars you have to at least consider it, don’t you?  According to BetOnIraq.com, the dinar hasn’t been this crappy in the last one hundred years. I smell big money!

And if, in passing, you should wonder why you should invest in Iraq currency rather than your office football pool the BetOnIraq.com sales team points out, “Because Democracy Breeds Prosperity.”  Which is true, except for that Great Depression thing during the 1930’s.  But that’s history. We’re talking the here and now, the Bush reality. What red blooded, true blue Republican Bush supporter would not want to take a chance on getting filthy rich and supporting democracy at the same time? And for a lousy $45, too. Why, during the middle ages you couldn’t buy the fifth metatarsal of St. Nicolas of Myra for $45, and he is the patron saint of thieves.  

I checked into this. Tomorrow morning if you managed to walk into an actual downtown Bagdad bank without being shot in the head and having your dead body dragged through the streets, and you handed the teller $45 American, not only would he hand you your ass in a shopping bag in return, he would also hand over to you 65,250 Dinar. Use your calculator, kids. The official exchange rate between banks (the interbank rate) is 1,450 Dinar to the dollar. It’s been 1450 to one since the United States set up the new Iraq banking system in May of 2003. For some reason there doesn’t seem to be much of an international monetary market buying and selling Iraq currency. In fact its lack of fluctuation seems to indicate somebody is propping the dinar up.  I wonder who that could be?  But that’s beside the point. Forty-five bucks times 1450 exchange rate equals 65,250.

But if you buy your Dinar from BetOnIraq.com, not only do you save a trip to Bagdad and your ass, but you make a profit of….well, actually you lose about 40,250 dinar on the deal, but that’s only about $28 U.S  That’s a fair sales commission, don’t you think? Everybody charges sales commissions, even banks, even international monetary exchanges. They even call it a commission, sometimes charging up to 10% above the interbank rate.  

Of course BetOnIraq.com doesn’t mention a commission. But maybe these guys are idiots. Maybe they don’t know their business. Maybe they’re crazy. Maybe they know more about international monetary exchange than you do. Maybe you shouldn’t be asking questions like that. Maybe you should be rolling around naked in your currency vault, smearing your naked body with Dinar and the American flag, just like Scrouge McDuck does.

And why stop at 25,000 Dinar? Why not really take advantage of the BetOnIraq.com’s dedication to liberty and their inability to deal with fractions?  They advertise that they will sell you 2 million Dinars for $2,100.00.  (That’s $1,379 at the official exchange rate, making their commission about $721, or about a 52% commission.) And for a mere $5,175.00 you can buy five million Dinars from them. (Worth about $3,448 at the official exchange rate, making their sales commission $1,727, or about 50%)   But if you want to buy more you’ll have to e-mail them about their “special bulk rate”. And who doesn’t like to buy things in bulk? You always save when buying in bulk. Don’t you?

There is, of course, a disclaimer. There is always a disclaimer on a stock prospectus. It’s like the warning on the side of a pack of cigarettes. The folks at BetOnIraq.com warn you, “We cannot say with certainty precisely how the Iraqi government will ultimately handle this currency. We guarantee the delivery and authenticity of the Iraqi Dinars that we sell. We can offer no guarantees of a return on your investment.”

Well, I can’t offer any guarantees, either. But to me, the guy with no business sense, it seems as if the folks on BetOnIraq.com are really betting on a civil war in Iraq. I think they think that in two years or so there may be a new Islamic fundamentalist government in charge, and I think they think those new Iraqi Dinars are going to be toilet paper. I think that’s what they think, because in my limited experience people who charge a 50% sales commission have very little faith in the future of what they’re selling.

Its called putting your money where your mouth is. And these boys and girls are keeping their own money right in their pockets.

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