Bitcoin exchanges are pretty easy to deal with if you have traded stocks, but futures exchanges are alien territory for many ordinary investors and require a much deeper understanding of the issues that determine risks and returns, things like time to expiration, volatility and the day's news. Futures traders need to stay on top of the situation all the time and be ready to buy or sell on short notice.
This is even more true of paper currency. Yes, you can utilize and reuse the paper for all the intrinsic value paper has. But what is that intrinsic value of paper? This is easy to answer, because we can just see how much the government pays to make paper money. $1 and $2 bills cost less than 5 cents to make on the low end of the spectrum, while $100 bills cost 12.3 cents on the high end.
The 2013 cryptocurrency bubble burst just a few days later, brought on by the collapse of Mt Gox, the largest bitcoin trading exchange at the time. It was revealed that Mt Gox had either been hacked or embezzled from, and no longer had any funds left to honor customer withdrawals. As a result, anyone who had decided to keep their bitcoins in Mt Gox at the time instead of withdrawing them to their own wallets ended up losing all their money. How much the price of bitcoin rises doesn’t mean anything if you lose all your bitcoins, unfortunately.
Once you’ve decided that you truly believe in a cryptocurrency long term, and are willing to commit to it for the long term and hold it no matter what the short term price movements might be, the next step is to decide how much to invest, and when to invest. One might be hesitant, with not bad reason, to invest at an all time high, even if one believes that that all time high will one day be exceeded.
This underscores the oft mercurial whims of governments, even well-regarded ones like that of the United States, that most citizens heretofore have been subject to without relief or alternative. Most of the time, things run well enough that we all get by without having to think about this fact too much. Sometimes, however, things do go really, really wrong.
* Bitcoin Investment Trust does not currently operate a redemption program and may halt creations from time to time. There can be no assurance that the value of the shares will approximate the value of the Bitcoin held by the Trust and the shares may trade at a substantial premium over or discount to the value of the Trust's Bitcoin. The Trust may, but will not be required to, seek regulatory approval to operate a redemption program.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, this is far more difficult, if not impossible, to do with cryptocurrency, more than even normal investment vehicles like stocks. I’ve seen people who think that bitcoin has hit a peak and must necessarily stop going up sell, intending to wait until bitcoin falls again to buy in again and make maybe a 20% extra profit, miss out entirely because bitcoin kept going up and never came back down. There are numerous stories of those who bought into bitcoin at $1 or less, but sold well before it ever reached even $10, much less $2500.
To buy/sell on Coinbase or GDAX, you need no wallet, as Coinbase/GDAX will keep your coins for you. You’ll want to enable Google Authenticator for two factor authentication and keep your passwords and your phone incredibly secure, however, as if someone hacks your account, all your money is gone for good with no recourse. This happens a lot. Use a super strong password that you have not used elsewhere and that no one knows and that you won’t forget.
Coinbase, for example, has been such a popular bitcoin investment app that its CEO posted to the company’s blog last week a warning that the sudden influx “does create extreme volatility and stress on our systems,” which can create a lag for users. The Chicago Board Options Exchange, on which the first bitcoin futures trading took place this week, warned that a flood of traffic ahead of the launch was slowing its site.
In case you forgot what bitcoin is, it's not a physical form of currency, nor is it a company or corporation that can go public. So there isn't exactly a stock for it, per se. However, you can treat the bitcoins you have as an asset that can be bought and sold, and its value as the bitcoin stock price. The fluctuation in price can be tracked in the same way you can track any other stock in your portfolio.
The intangibility of bitcoin, however, does seem to hang some people up. It’s sometimes difficult to immediately conceive of how bitcoins could possibly hold value, as these people contend, they are intrinsically worthless. They are nothing but a concept, backed up by some computer code. Gold is a physical, tangible object that you can hold in your hand. It has real uses in industry and as jewelry that lend it value. Even paper money can be used for kindling or toilet paper if the need necessitates.
Dan Morehead and Joey Krug of the blockchain investment fund Pantera Capital sit down with Michael Green of Thiel Macro. The group explores the current state of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and the current investment environment. In addition, Morehead and Krug look ahead to the future of distributed ledger technology to explore how smart contracts will create value for users and investors by reducing transaction costs and eliminating middlemen. Filmed on May 22, 2018 in San Francisco.
If you have an account with us but are not approved to trade futures, you first need to request futures trading privileges. Be sure to check that you have the right permissions and meet funding requirements on your account before you apply. Please note that the approval process may take 1-2 business days. Once you have been granted futures approval, contact the Futures Desk at 866-839-1100 or email us to request access to /XBT.