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Zero Hedge

Zero Hedge

Zero Hedge or ZeroHedge[2] is described as a "markets-focused" blog,[27] that presents both in-house analysis, and analysis from investment banks, hedge funds, and other investment writers and analysts. Zero Hedge, per its motto,[1] is bearish in its investment outlook and analysis, often deriving from its adherence to the Austrian School of economics and credit cycles.[28] While often labeled as a financial permabear,[29][30] Zero Hedge is also seen as a source of "cutting-edge news, rumors and gossip about the financial industry".[31]

Over time Zero Hedge expanded into non-financial analysis, advocating what CNN Business called an anti-establishment and conspiratorial worldview, and which has been associated with alt-right views[32][33] and pro-Russian bias.[34][35][3][36]

Zero Hedge in-house content is posted under the pseudonym "Tyler Durden"; however, the founder and main editor was identified as Daniel Ivandjiiski.[36]

Zero Hedge (ZeroHedge)
Type of site
  • Capital markets finance blog.
  • News and political opinion.
  • In-house and 3rd party content.
Available inEnglish
OwnerABC Media Limited[24]
Created byDaniel Ivandjiiski
  • Daniel Ivandjiiski
  • Tim Backshall
Websitezerohedge.com [107]
Alexa rankIncrease507 (U.S. September 2018)[25]
CommercialYes (free content, paid advertising)
RegistrationOptional, but registration is requiredfor posting comments to any Zero Hedge articles
LaunchedJanuary 9, 2009 (2009-01-09)[26]
Current statusOnline
IP address35.227.58.252[24]

History and authorship

Zero Hedge's first post appeared on 9 January 2009 at 4pm,[37][26] and the domain was registered on 11 January 2009.[24] According to the Boston Business Journal, the website "publishes financial news and opinion, aggregated and original" from a number of writers "who purportedly hail from within the financial industry."[38] Almost all in-house articles are signed under the collective pseudonym, "Tyler Durden", a character in the Chuck Palahniuk book and movie Fight Club.[38][26]

In September 2009, news reports identified Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born,[4] U.S.-educated,[5] former hedge-fund trader, who was barred from the securities industry in September 2008 for earning US$780 from an insider trade by FINRA,[39] as the founder of the site, and reported that "Tyler Durden" was a pseudonym for Ivandjiiski.[26][40][41] FINRA rulings show Ivandjiiski worked for 3 years at New York investment bank, Jefferies & Co.,[42] as well a number of hedge funds, the last of which was Wexford Capital LLC, a fund led by former Goldman Sachs traders.[43] One female site contributor, who spoke to New York magazine in an interview arranged by Ivandjiiski, said "up to 40" people could post under the "Tyler Durden" pseudonym.[26] The same New York magazine article, published on 27 September 2009, stated that Ivandjiiski's father was Krassimir Ivandjiiski,[26] a Bulgarian publisher and editor of the website Strogo Sekretno ("Top Secret"), and monthly publication Bulgarian Confidential, since 1994.[6]

In a 29 April 2016 Bloomberg article "unmasking" Zero Hedge,[36] the authors writing as "Tyler Durden" were revealed as Ivandjiiski, then age 37, Tim Backshall, age 45 (a known credit derivatives strategist, who had been on CNBC; an irony given Zero Hedge's strong aversion to CNBC),[45] and Colin Lokey, age 32 (a Seeking Alpha staff writer).[46][47] Lokey, the newest member, who joined in 2015, publicly revealed himself and the other two, when he left the site in April 2016.[48] Ivandjiiski confirmed the three men "had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll" since Lokey joined in 2015.[36] Lokey said he was paid $6,000 per month, and received a bonus of $50,000, earning over $100,000 in 2015.[36] According to Ivandjiiski, the blog generates revenue from online advertising (there is no subscription service).[36]

On 20 March 2019, Australian telecom company Telstra denied access to Zero Hedge, and other websites, as a result of the Christchurch mosque shootings.[49][50][51]

Manifesto and views


At its creation in January 2009, Zero Hedge published the following manifesto on the objectives of the site,[52] which it referenced again on 30 April 2016.[47]

our mission: To widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public. To skeptically examine and, where necessary, attack the flaccid institution that financial journalism has become. To liberate oppressed knowledge. to provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint. To facilitate information's unending quest for freedom. our method: pseudonymous speech...** anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. it thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation-- and their ideas from suppression-- at the hand of an intolerant society. ...responsibly used. the right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

  • mcintyre v. ohio elections commission 514 u.s. 334 (1995) justice stevens writing for the majority

Financial views

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS data of G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and BOJ

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS data of G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and BOJ

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS and Bloomberg, showing the G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and the BOJ versus the share price of Amazon (AMZN)

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS and Bloomberg, showing the G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and the BOJ versus the share price of Amazon (AMZN)

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS and Bloomberg, showing the G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and the BOJ versus the MSCI U.S. Stock Market

Recreation of a typical Zero Hedge chart from BIS and Bloomberg, showing the G3 central bank balance sheets: FEB, ECB and the BOJ versus the MSCI U.S. Stock Market

The most strongly held belief by Zero Hedge is in Austrian economics, and that economic cycles are really credit cycles, and that the quantitative easing ("QE") by global central banks is a temporary and artificial asset-price support scheme, that makes the credit cycle even more extreme; and hence the site's strongly bearish views.[7][28] As a result of this view, Zero Hedge supports assets that are outside of the central banking system, including precious metals and gold,[31][53] and even cryptocurrencies. The site is strongly against Keynesian economics,[54] and sees quantitative easing as a Keynesian money printing trick,[55] and vilifies advocates of this approach, such as Paul Krugman in particular.[56][8] The site praises writers with similar views, including Albert Edwards and John Hussman in particular.

Critics of Zero Hedge label the site a permabear,[30] whose views missed the global recovery since 2013. Zero Hedge responds that the since 2013, global central banks have undertaken a continuous programme of quantitative easing ("QE") (e.g. aggregate monthly easing has rarely dropped below the level of QE1 or QE2, see graphic opposite),[57] and when QE1 and QE2 ended, markets collapsed. The site references Japan, whose market set new lows after each round of QE, from 1994-2013,[58] and where the latest round of QE, started in 2013, has seen the BOJ become a dominant owner of the Nikkei 225.[59][60]

Zero Hedge maintains a number of financial views/theories which are considered conspiratorial, and/or hard-to-prove or unprovable;[61][29] notable views include:[9]

A connected theme from the above views is that central banks have nationalized capital markets, that prices are artificial and do not reflect economic theory, that U.S. financial institutions have profited from this, and that the manipulation of asset prices has driven wealth inequality in society and built up financial risks (due to the leverage against these prices). Zero Hedge often shows the chart of G3 balance sheets versus Amazon's share price (see graphic), concluding that U.S. taxpayer's money has been used by the U.S. FED to make U.S. taxpayers unemployed, as Amazon, despite making few profits, is one of the highest valued companies.

Bearish macroeconomic views and conspiracy theories aside, Zero Hedge is noted as a source of detailed, but proprietary, research from Wall Street investment banks and institutions, on securities, which can be picked up by the financial media.[62][63][64] Sometimes, the research is about other investment banks.[65] It has also been a source of breaking news in the general capital markets industry.[27][31][66][67] In Zero Hedge's early years, it was associated with exposing the unknown world of High-frequency trading ("HFT"), and the HFT techniques that Zero Hedge claimed amounted to market manipulation.[31][68]

Zero Hedge is known for personalized attacks on specific finance professionals, examples being newsletter writer and commodity analyst, Dennis Gartman (over 758 articles),[69] and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman (over 703 articles),[70] and fund manager, Whitney Tilson (over 325 articles),[71] amongst others.

Non-financial views

While Zero Hedge's financial content is often referred to/quoted in the mainstream financial media (see above), its non-financial content has not been relied on by mainstream media.

The 29 April 2017 unmasking article by Bloomberg, quoted former website staffer Colin Lokey as saying: "I can't be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It's wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run. This isn't a revolution. It's a joke."[36] Lokey told Bloomberg that he was pressured to frame issues in a way he felt was "disingenuous," summarizing its political stances as "Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry=dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft." On 30 April 2016, the site posted an article describing a difficult relationship with Lokey, and asserting that Lokey was "emotionally unstable, psychologically troubled alcoholic with a drug dealer past, as per his own disclosure", and reproduced various text messages from Lokey to support this claim.[47] It also said that Lokey could write "anything and everything he wanted directly without anyone writing over it."[47]

In May 2016, Benjamin Wallace-Wells writing in The New Yorker magazine, in a follow-up piece to Bloomberg's 29 April 2016 article, associated the website with the alt-right, although the article did not specifically label Zero Hedge as alt-right, stating: "You could ask some of the same questions about the alt-right, the loosely assembled far-right movement that exists largely online, and that overlaps with both the Trump campaign and with the politics of Zero Hedge". Wallace-Wells also noted that the site demonstrated a Russian-bias, stating the site had a "pointed" Russophilia.[34]

In a series of articles in June–July 2017, the Financial Times, covering an event organised by one of the site's bloggers,[18] said that, "It probably didn't help that ZeroHedge was also used as a lead-in for a 2016 New Yorker piece about the alt-right, despite its financial focus and a political bent that is more Drudge than Richard Spencer."[35] The § Site growth and traffic metrics for Zero Hedge show that drudgereport.com is the most common traffic referrer.

Traffic statistics

User growth

Rank2traffic, reported the following trend in historical sessions per month for Zero Hedge, since inception in 2009.[19][24]

  • March 1, 2009, undefined

  • April 1, 2010, 1.16 million

  • February 1, 2011, 4.54 million

  • January 1, 2012, 11.0 million

  • February 1, 2013, 12.0 million

  • January 1, 2014, 20.0 million

  • January 1, 2015, 18.0 million

  • January 1, 2016, 17.0 million

  • January 1, 2017, 33.0 million

  • January 1, 2018, 40.0 million

  • August 1, 2018, 37.7 million[20]

Rank2traffic statistics show Zero Hedge's traffic reached a mini-peak in sessions per month in October 2014 (at 22 million per month), which then fell to a mini-slump in June 2015 (at 13 million per month), but had since tripled by January 2018 (to 40 million per month).[24]

User profile

In August 2018, site traffic analysis reported the following about Zero Hedge:[72][73][24]

Twitter account

Zero Hedge also has a Twitter account, which in September 2018, had 516,000 followers. On 16 November 2017, Forbes listed it as one of its "100 Best Finance Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following", with the Zero Hedge Twitter account being one of nine on the Forbes list with +100,000 followers (Zero Hedge had 440,000 at the time), and ranked as the 7th largest following on the Forbes list.[75]

Critical reception

Launch to 2014

In August 2009, under the pseudonym Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio on HFT.[76][77] By September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than some established financial blogs,[41] and Quantcast reported that the blog was getting 333,000 unique visitors a month (by 2018, it would be 40 million per month).[40] In September 2009, journalist Joe Hagan wrote that Zero Hedge's founder was "a zealous believer in a sweeping conspiracy that casts the alumni of Goldman Sachs as a powerful cabal at the helm of U.S. policy."[26] In September and October 2009, Financial journalists Felix Salmon and Justin Fox characterized the site as conspiratorial.[78][40] However, Justin Fox, went on to describe Ivandjiiski as "a wonderfully persistent investigative reporter" and credited him for successfully turning high-frequency trading "into a big political issue," but also termed most of the writing on the website as "half-baked hooey," albeit with some "truth to be gleaned from it."[40]

In his book, Griftopia (2010), Matt Taibbi cited Zero Hedge as having accurately assessed the level of corruption in the banking industry.[79] In January 2011, Zero Hedge was quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review regarding a JPMorgan-Ambac lawsuit: "JPM committed fraud through misrepresentation, then wilfully and maliciously traded against the entities it had sold misrepresented securities to."[80] In March 2011, Time magazine ranked Zero Hedge as 9th, in its 25 Best Financial Blogs,[61] with nominator, Bloomberg's Paul Kedrosky, stating that "So while I don't read Zero Hedge regularly—it's too bearish, too conspiratorial and too much of an intellectual monoculture—I like knowing that it exists. Any time I'm feeling like things might just turn out O.K. on planet Economic Earth, I know where to turn to be disabused of that stupid idea." Susanne Craig of The New York Times described Zero Hedge in October 2011 as "a well-read and controversial financial blog."[81]

In December 2012, Bank of America, which had been criticized by the site in the past, blocked its employees' access to Zero Hedge from BOA servers.[38]

2014 to 2018

In September 2014, the site was described by CNN Money as offering a "deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world."[29]

In November 2014, Dr. Craig Pirrong, Professor of Finance at the University of Houston, stated: "I have frequently written that Zero Hedge has the MO of a Soviet agitprop operation, that it reliably peddles Russian propaganda: my first post on this, almost exactly three years ago, noted the parallels between Zero Hedge and Russia Today."[82][83] In December 2013, Zero Hedge accused Dr. Pirrong of being a "paid-for-Professor", who had "made a living of collecting "expert academic" fees simply to sign off on [wall street] memoranda", quoting a New York Times expose by David Kocieniewski into Dr. Pirrong.[84][21]

In September 2015, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman described Zero Hedge as a scaremongering outlet that promotes fears of hyperinflation and an "obviously ridiculous" form of "monetary permahawkery."[86] In November 2012, Krugman had noted that Bill McBride of Calculated Risk, an economics blog, has treated Zero Hedge with "appropriate contempt".[87] Krugman has been one of the most vilified individuals on Zero Hedge, and the subject of over 703 articles (almost all negative) since inception,[70] due to Krugman's advocacy of Keynesian economics.[8][56]

In April 2016, as part of its expose from the Colin Lokey interview, Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street's Renegade Blog, Bloomberg Markets stated that since its founding in the middle of the financial crisis, "Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. Often distrustful of the 'establishment' and almost always bearish, it's known for a pessimistic worldview. Posts entitled 'Stocks Are In a Far More Precarious State Than Was Ever Truly Believed Possible' and 'America's Entitled (And Doomed) Upper Middle Class' are not uncommon."[36]

In a May 2016 follow-up Bloomberg opinion piece, Noah Smith said: "Zero Hedge has become known as a source of cutting-edge news, rumors and gossip about the financial industry, as well as a haven for gold bugs, foes of the Federal Reserve and critics of high-frequency trading"; and also that: "But I've realized that the website is also something else—a kind of support group for financial industry workers who are worried about their own economic future in the face of sweeping changes in technology, regulation and demand".[31]

A May 2016 piece by Benjamin Wallace-Wells for The New Yorker magazine, also following up on the April 2016 Bloomberg unmasking article, described Zero Hedge as, "a blog that combines analysis of the financial markets, emphasizing the essential corruption of Wall Street".[34] As discussed in § Non-financial views, the article also associated the site with the alt-right, and of being pointedly Russophile.[34]

On 16 November 2017, Forbes listed Zero Hedge as one of its "100 Best Finance Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following"; Zero Hedge was one of nine of these 100 Twitter accounts that had a following of over 100,000 on Twitter (Zero Hedge had 440,000).[75] On 22 August 2018, Forbes also listed Zero Hedge as one of its "Top 17 Value Investing Blogs You Should Be Reading"[88]


On 12 March 2019, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had banned users from sharing Zero Hedge posts three days earlier.[89] MarketWatch, noting that Zero Hedge is a "frequent critic of Facebook", reported that the ban was lifted later that day with Facebook saying that the ban was a "mistake with our automation to detect spam".[90] Business Insider, describing Zero Hedge as "a favorite of City and Wall Street traders, known for its anti-establishment and bearish slant on financial topics", noted that Donald Trump Jr and Nigel Farage raised objections to Facebook's censure of Zero Hedge.[91]


GEROVA Financial

On 27 March 2012, Daniel Ivandjiiski was named as a co-conspirator in a civil complaint regarding a "complaint for damages and equitable relief".[92] The complainant, Noble Investments, who described themselves as a seed-investor in GEROVA Financial Group (NYSE: GFC), alleged that Dalrymple Finance had, with Zero Hedge and others,[22] engaged in a short and distort stock manipulation scheme, by publishing negative reports on GEROVA in January 2011.[93][94][95] The complaint stated that, amongst other charges, the defendants made damaging accusations that major shareholders, the Galanis family, and GEROVA senior executives, were involved in a "pump and dump" scheme; it also made ad hominem attacks on both Daniel Ivandjiiski, and his then alleged father, Krassimir Ivandjiiski.[23]

Dalrymple replied: "Writing research on quoted companies and distributing that research to financial media outlets, is neither illegal and is a daily legitimate activity on Wall Street". The complaint did not progress and there was no SEC investigation. GEROVA Financial's share collapsed in 2011, and never recovered.[96] On 24 September 2015, the SEC charged a number of senior executives of GEROVA, and a number of major investors in GEROVA with a "stock fraud scheme",[97][98] for which several, including the former company Chairman and President, Gary Hirst, received jail sentences in 2017.[99][100]

See also

  • Krassimir Ivandjiiski

  • Daniel Ivandjiiski

  • Marc Faber

  • John Hussman


Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThe website's motto, "On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero", is from the book and film Fight Club
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgA search of the website shows that the website uses Zero Hedge, and ZeroHedge, and even zerohedge, and ZH, when referring to itself in articles.
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgFormer Zero Hedge staff writer, Colin Lokey, on departing acrimoniously in April 2016, alleged to Bloomberg that Zero Hedge had become increasingly focused on non-financial material as a way to increase traffic on the site.
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgBorn on 8 November 1978
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgGraduated from the American College in Sofia, Bulgaria (1997), and then moved to the U.S. and graduated from the University Of Pennsylvania in molecular biology. Joe Hagan (27 September 2009). "The Dow Zero Insurgency". New York. The nothing-can-be-believed chaos of the financial crisis created a golden opportunity for a blog run by a mysterious ex-hedge-funder with a dodgy past and conspiracy theories to burn
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgIn the translated "About Us" page of Strogo Sekretno, Krassimir describes the publication as: "Above all, Top Secret is a national political newspaper. It is the only independent newspaper in Bulgaria, which is the only real alternative to manipulated mass media." The paper's website is at strogosekretno.com. "About Us". Top Secret.
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgGlobal central banks have, between them, maintained a continual level of QE since 2013, after the collapse of markets post the end of QE1 (March 2010) and QE2 (June 2011)
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgAs a follower of Keynesian economics, Krugman advocates tools like quantitative easing to raise general asset prices and the living standards of society; however, as a follower of the Austrian School of economics, Zero Hedge believes that quantitative easing tools are artificial and their effects evaporate as soon as the tool is stopped (e.g. as happened at the end of QE1 and QE2), and thus the increased level of credit and leverage built up during the easing, poses serious risks to the economy and society.
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgIt is not possible to list all such views expressed on Zero Hedge, nor is it possible to definitively rank the views; however, given that such views are acknowledged as an important part of the site, a considered list of major such views is provided
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThis was the original Zero Hedge theory that brought the site to prominence in 2009; the theory gained some support, and in particular from the Michael Lewis book, Flash Boys
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgAs a believer in the Austrian School of economics and thus a strong supporter of precious metals ("PMs"), the site has often interpreted falls in the price of PMs as being market manipulation
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThe term "plunge protection team" generates thousands of article links on the Zero Hedge site; disclosures by the Bank of Japan regarding its very frequent ETF trading activities are used as support; also, seemingly irrational recoveries, such as Brexit, where the U.K. market hit a new high in the months post the shock, are seen as evidence of PPT by Zero Hedge
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgZero Hedge has an even wider conspiracy theory around the connections between big U.S. investment banks and the FED; however the site's most used evidence is the fact that U.S. investment banks, during QE programs, rarely have days in the year where they lose money trading
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgZero Hedge showed in 2009 that much of the headline volume in markets was really HFT (e.g. same share being sold back-and-forward many times per second), and thus illusory; the problem with this theory is that ETFs, the main tool asserted for PPT activity, do not have the same reporting requirements as individual securities (e.g. large PPT ETF trades are not itemised and sourced, as with fund manager 13F trades)
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgZero Hedge frequently returns to this theme; cites various evidence including from ex. Fitch analyst, Charlene Chu and short-seller, Jim Chanos; also cites regular reports from Muddy Waters Research
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgZero Hedge articles on Canadian Bank solvency, impaired by an assertion that Mark Carney was using central bank tools to inflate Canadian house prices, were covered in the main financial media; Zero Hedge has made the same assertion on Mark Carney's impact on U.K. house prices
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgA central theme of Zero Hedge, is that central banks are using techniques that increase the total indebtedness in society to generate growth, which, as an Austrian School follower, Zero Hedge believes will be temporary; and that the growth only exists while the "flow" of new credit is positive, but regardless of how large the "stock" of credit reaches, once the "flow" turns negative, prices will collapse. Zero Hedge points to housing as a key tool (as well as Student Loans and Auto Loans), and how, despite the fall in housing volumes, central banks have kept house prices rising by loosening mortgage terms, and "help-to-buy" schemes
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThe event was organised by Zero Hedge contributor, hedgeless_horseman, and it was not an official Zero Hedge function
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThese statistics are less comprehensive, but are freely available on the Rank2traffic site, and do not require a subscription to view
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgSimilarweb reports an August 2018 figure of 45.38 million sessions per month
Sep 29, 2019, 12:30 AM