A fork is sort of like a stock split and happens when a complex set of conditions are met. On August 1, 2017, for example, bitcoin speculators received one unit of bitcoin cash for every bitcoin already owned. The fork occurred after a number of big players called "developers" agreed to modify the algorithm to speed transactions as trading volume grew. Today, bitcoin cash trades at around $1,100, compared to under $7,000 for bitcoin itself.
It is important to note that some altcoins innovate by experimenting with useful characteristics Bitcoin does not offer. For instance, Ripple serves as a protocol users can employ to make inter-currency payments with ease, BitShares describes itself as “a fair version of Wall Street,” and Darkcoin hopes to provide a platform for completely anonymous transactions. Some altcoin ecosystems, such as Mastercoin and CounterParty, even utilize the Bitcoin blockchain to secure their platform.
With cryptocurrency projects, you are mainly investing in young startups. The sobering statistic is that 90% of all startups fail. We see no reason why the failure rate of cryptocurrency projects should be any lower in the long term. That’s right; if you invest in 10 random cryptocurrency projects, on average you ought to expect 9 of them to eventually be worth nothing.
Update 1st October 2018: The cryptocurrency market has been volatile as ever over the last 6 months. Unless you are a skilled trader, it is harder to make money in a bear market than in a bull market – and we have been in a bear market for some time now. Personally, I have stopped trading and I am now focussing on growing my portfolio passively using a cryptocurrency trading bot – you can find out more about this here. If you are new to crypto, read on!
"Virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money," International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde predicted last fall. "Citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash — no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities," she said.
Pro Tip:If you want to invest, but aren’t keen on using your own funds, consider utilizing accrued interest on a savings account to invest. Compare savings accounts and their interest rates. If you put a lot of money into savings every year, you could fund a sizable investment with just the money the bank pays you in interest. It eliminates your personal risk and maximizes your chances of a return.
Utility value: when determining if a cryptocurrency will be here in a few years from now, we have to ask ourselves, is the cryptocurrency useful? Does it have a users’ market? This question is important because it is the most useful cryptocurrencies that are likely to be widely adopted. Take Ethereum for example, its utility value derives from its function of allowing developers to build Decentralized Applications (DApps) on top of its blockchain. We can conclude that, as long as Ethereum is the go-to-place for DApp development, it is likely to maintain, and possibly increase, its utility value. Therefore, Ethereum would be a viable cryptocurrency to include in our portfolio.
Once you’ve established your portfolio, or you have built up a cash/Bitcoin position with previous profits, it’s time to start buying in. It’s advisable to do this in parts instead of doing it all at once, due to the volatility in the crypto market. Timing the market is extremely difficult, and, according to almost every expert, it can’t be consistently done.
The futures contracts for bitcoin were launched by both the CME Group and Cboe last December as interest in the cryptocurrency rose and as institutional investors sought a method to hedge against their risk. The first bitcoin futures contract was launched by the Cboe and trading began on Dec. 10 as XBT, which is a U.S. dollar-denominated, cash-settled futures contract based on the auction price of bitcoin on the Gemini digital currency exchange.
It’s important that enough miners keep trying to mine blocks because this is another valuable service miners provide the network. Bitcoin, like gold, is powerful as a store of value because it is decentralized and trustless. There is no one central authority who holds all the power over bitcoin, just like no central authority holds power over gold.
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 advantages don’t stop there, however. Bitcoin is also ‘pseudonymous’, meaning that while all transactions ever conducted on the network are public and known by all as everything is recorded in the blockchain, unless someone knows who owns the bitcoins that are being used in these transactions, there is no way to trace those bitcoins and transactions back to a given person or entity.
Do note that this will put your portfolio out of balance. But it’s prudent to do this as a measure of risk mitigation whenever your portfolio has been doing incredibly well. The market won’t go up forever, and you can rest assured that there will always be another correction. By taking profits in Bitcoin, you partly secure your profits while at the same time staying in the game lest you miss out on another leg of a bull run.
“Custodial concerns are extremely important for CIOs, and if they are unfamiliar with the brand of the custodian of the asset, they won’t get comfortable getting involved in the market,” he said. “Volatility is always a key concern as well, in addition to skepticism about the driver of returns on crypto assets and a lack of regulation in the space.”
This is a fundamentally flawed argument that can be lobbied against absolutely any new technology or invention, and fails to take into account the natural process of growth and gradual adoption over time. The exact same argument was used against the internet in its early days, and I find this article from Newsweek, published in 1995, particularly illuminating in this regard.
With the advent of smart contracts made possible by the blockchain, however, this is (soon-to-be) a thing of the past. One can create a simple smart contract at effectively almost no cost that specifies in code that each party will send it $100 in bitcoin, and that upon the completion of the election process, it will either send all $200 to the party that bet on Donald Trump winning the election, or send the $200 to the party that bet on him losing the election. No ifs, ands, or buts. The code is clear, objective, and deterministic. Either the contract is fulfilled in one direction, or it is fulfilled in the other. No need to trust the other party in the bet at all, much less a third party to mediate.
This portfolio gives us diversified exposure to more exotic cryptocurrency projects with higher risk / reward profiles, whilst holding the majority of our funds in a core large cap position. In a down market, we would expect this portfolio to perform worse than our conservative one. However, we expect a superior performance if the cryptocurrency market goes on a bull run.
For me, security tokens are too risky at the moment – take, for example, the SEC’s recent witch hunt, during which it subpoenaed 80 cryptocurrency companies. However, the tokenized model of securities has the potential to severely disrupt current fundraising and shareholding models. Once global regulatory bodies have created a clear regulatory framework to reduce their risk, investing in security tokens will become a highly attractive option.
NEW YORK, Dec. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Grayscale Investments, LLC, the sponsor (the "Sponsor") of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC) (the "Trust"), announced that it has today declared a distribution and established a record date for the distribution of the rights to Bitcoin Segwit2X tokens currently held by the Trust as a result of the fork in the Bitcoin blockchain on December 28, 2017 to shareholders of record ("Record Date Shareholders") as of the close of business on January 8, 2018 (the "Record Date").
This isn’t necessarily wrong, or inaccurate. This is the reason I first started paying attention to bitcoin. Countless people *have* made shocking amounts of money investing in cryptocurrency. I’ve personally made over $400,000 in less than two years. In fact, bitcoin has already proven to be the best investment in all of recorded history by a shocking margin for those who got in at its most early stages.
I hope that this elucidation provides some insight into why I personally see it as suspect to invest in something based on price alone, and why I urge extreme caution particularly if one is exploring whether or not to invest in an altcoin, especially if one is at least partially motivated to do so because of the feeling that the ship has already sailed for bitcoin, and that there might be better potential for outsized gains with a smaller altcoin. Again, this certainly may be true, and often is true even for altcoins destined for eventual failure in the short term while a bubble/bull market continues, but risks are amplified just as much as the opportunity itself when it comes to altcoins, and oftentimes moreso in a bubble than otherwise.
Ripple addresses all these shortcomings by providing cheaper, instant transactions. These transactions are initiated using a single currency, XRP. Ripple and XRP are two parts of the same project. However, given XRP’s integral role and future use cases as a currency used by the general public, the price of XRP has rocketed in the last few months reaching nearly $0.30 at the time of writing this article.
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