Nevertheless, NVIDIA and AMD aren't absolved from downside, either. In fact, you could say the two are stuck in a pervasive cryptocurrency conundrum. As a result of the high demand for GPUs, graphics card prices have shot through the roof. In doing so, it's angered their core gaming customers, who are being forced to pay significant premiums for graphics cards at the moment. These companies could risk alienating their core customer and do nothing or they could create a GPU specific for miners, hurting the growth they've received from miners by increasing supply.
Even though other transaction coins will definitely grow in value in the next few years, I think that Bitcoin will remain the dominant currency in this segment. While others may be faster, less centralized, or more private, Bitcoin’s incredible first mover advantage and allowance for upgrades makes me continue to place my faith in the reigning monarch of cryptocurrencies.
There have been a lot of new digital asset fund launches in 2017, but still only a couple of funds with more than $10m under management and even fewer with more than $100m under management. Flows into actively managed digital asset funds were strongest in the UHNW, family office and VC channel in 2017. We believe 2018 will mark the beginning of Wall Street and institutional capital entering the digital asset market. You’ll see endowments and global macro managers enter the market in a big way. You’ll see some sovereign wealth funds look to get exposure. That said, it is important to level-set. This is a still a tiny market. It’s a $300 billion market today, so it still has a ways to go before hitting mainstream.
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Furthermore, I would be forced to use an intermediary financial institution such as a bank to hold my money for me, and thereby expose myself to yet another layer of required trust and accompanying risk. I would also be aware that these institutions would almost certainly practice fractional reserve banking to the maximum extent they could get away with it, such that they would be extremely fragile to small perturbations and vulnerable to things like bank runs and runaway systemic banking collapses.
Design issues. Despite Bitcoin's massive rise in popularity over the past several years, it is not immune to design problems. For example, starting late last year Bitcoin transaction speeds became very slow because of a scaling problem related to the way the Bitcoin blockchain works. (You can read the details here.) That issue did not end up creating the existential crisis for Bitcoin that some analysts predicted, and the problem has now more or less been solved via something called SegWit. Still, the Bitcoin scaling issue was a reminder that a new type of serious problem may creep up in the future that undoes Bitcoin.
The most dangerous game of all, then, in my opinion, is day trading in altcoins that one doesn’t believe in long term. This is basically combining every ‘mistake’ I mention above: trading in something because of short term price movements, not holding it long term, day trading, and speculating in highly risky small cap altcoins. If you manage to survive doing this over any long period of time (5 years+, let’s say) and end up net profitable (particularly if you end up more profitable than just buying and holding over that same period of time), please do let me know, as I’d be extremely curious to hear just how you pulled it off.
This can be an interesting way to gauge the bitcoin market without all the work of getting bitcoins, but it comes at a price. Literally, you'll be paying very high premiums. The stock recently split to make things more affordable, but the premium remains steep. As of this writing, one share from GBTC is worth 0.00100396 BTC, or $6.77. Yet shares are going for $10.70. You'll also need to factor in management fees as well. As a result, some think it's more worth it to just own the bitcoins yourself.
If you have a brokerage account, you can expect the bitcoin user experience to be similar. And, as with a brokerage account, you’re likely to pay transaction fees whenever you buy or sell. That means day-trading bitcoin probably isn’t a great strategy — since those transaction fees could quickly eat up any profits. If you’re using bitcoin instead of PayPal, Venmo, etc., check first to see if the seller will charge you a fee for paying in bitcoin.