No. 1: U.S. regulators recently have been constructive about crypto: Regulators across the world have realized that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Still, there are numerous issues to negotiate: 1) Identifying players who have been defrauding investors with phony initial coin offerings (ICOs). 2) Defining the differences between utility tokens and security tokens; 3) Working with crypto businesses to create appropriate regulations to protect investors without hurting innovation. Overall, the industry and regulators are heading in the right direction, though it could take a few more years before they develop common standards.
There were many reasons for the crypto community to eagerly anticipate Bitcoin futures’ introduction to regulated derivatives markets. Futures have long been seen as the first stepping stone on the path to reconciling the world of crypto finance with the system of traditional financial institutions. Existing within a well-defined legal and operational framework, futures contracts offer legitimacy and security that judicious Wall Street firms were waiting for in order to finally jump onto the crypto bandwagon.
There are other ways you can incorporate "bitcoin stock" into your portfolio as well. The Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) is one notable option that operates similarly to an exchange-traded fund. It is a trust that owns bitcoins it is holding, and by buying shares of it, you can essentially bet on bitcoin value without actually owning any of your own (their bitcoins are secured using Xapo, Inc. as storage).
Bitcoin fundamentally changes this equation. Unlike even gold, bitcoin is nigh impossible, when stored correctly, for anyone to confiscate without consent. The addresses at which bitcoin values are stored are protected by ‘private keys’, which can be thought of as a password or a key to a lockbox. Without this private key, it is generally impossible to steal the bitcoins held at the public address to which the private key corresponds. So long as you keep this private key secure, your bitcoins are secure.
Steindorff: We launched our first fund, Focus Investments in 2014, so we were one of the first crypto funds in existence. This was a much more challenging time to educate investors on the market opportunity because the asset class hadn’t had enough time to prove itself. Bitcoin had been in the news, but not always for the right reasons. Convincing traditional investors of the value of seeding the next generation of tokenized, open source and decentralized protocols was pretty far out there at the time. But, the exercise of educating traditional investors on this emerging digital asset class helped us refine our thesis and those early investors have become some of our biggest advocates. Things have changed quite a bit since then. There is now quite a strong tailwind for the space, and investors have done much more diligence and reading on the space before we meet.
With this strategy, I’ve been trying to build a systematic approach to buying low and selling high that will continuously increase the value of my portfolio. It rides the big waves of the crypto market in a relaxed way. Don’t try to predict anything, but just go with the flow. Also, don’t sweat the small movements. The market is incredibly volatile, and the sooner you accept this and learn to ignore it, the better.
While the number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies has steadily increased, they are still very much in the minority. For cryptocurrencies to become more widely used, they have to first gain widespread acceptance among consumers. However, their relative complexity compared to conventional currencies will likely deter most people, except for the technologically adept.
I'd suggest the safest way to play the cryptocurrency market is through the graphic processing unit (GPU) manufacturers, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). Both NVIDIA and Advanced Micro make GPUs that cryptocurrency miners use to validate transactions. Being the first to solve these complex mathematical equations, which are a product of encryption within a blockchain, entitles crypto miners to a block reward that's paid out in tokens of the virtual currency being mined. Though the margins on cryptocurrency mining have come down significantly from where they were in December 2017, it's still quite profitable for miners to validate transactions and collect their reward. This puts NVIDIA's and AMD's GPUs in high demand.
Cryptocurrencies have attracted the attention of several investors all over the world. But in general, institutions did not participate in the market. Back in August, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates an important number of regulated exchanges all over the world, announced its intention to launch a new institutional-grade crypto platform known as Bakkt.
Second: Investment in cryptocurrency isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s extremely risky, extremely speculative, and extremely early stage still at this point in time. Countless speculators and day traders have lost their entire fortunes trading cryptocurrency. I was no different when I first started investing in crypto. The first $5000 I put into crypto fell almost immediately to less than $500 — a net loss of over 90%.
The same growth trajectory is how I see bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology at large playing out. If all goes well — and there’s no guarantee it might, everything indeed might fail and all our hopes and dreams might gang aft agley — there’s no reason at all that bitcoin can’t one day surpass even our wildest imaginations today, just like the internet did before it, and fundamentally rewrite the script for how we interact with money and the world as a whole.
If someone steals your Trezor, they won’t be able to find your coins either, as they’re protected by a PIN that only you know (plus a password if you want to use that feature I mentioned above). You can also recover the coins yourself with the recovery seed the Trezor will give you the first time you use it, which you should store in a super safe location like a safe deposit box somewhere. If you don’t use utilize the password feature, however, keep in mind that anyone who discovers this recovery seed instantly has access to all your coins, and all your other forms of security are for naught. If you enable the password feature, however, they will need your password as well as the recovery seed in able to access your cryptocurrency, which makes it significantly more secure.
Johnny Steindorff launched Focus Investments in 2014. Focus was one of the first pure play crypto funds to launch, and was a first mover in what is now a burgeoning sector of active management. Being such an early adopter, Focus faced significant headwinds launching and managing a fund based on an emergent asset class with no institutional backing. However, their strategy proved extremely prescient, and Focus aggressively took advantage of the several thousand percent growth of the crypto sector into a ~$300B+ asset class.
Bitcoin trading occurs on exchanges. These exchanges accept your fiat currencies (like USD and EUR) in exchange for a cryptocurrency (like BTC). These exchanges maintain a liquid pool of bitcoin, allowing users to withdraw their bitcoin at any time. Investors who wish to trade on that exchange can deposit bitcoin into their personal wallet on the exchange, or make a wire transfer to the exchange’s bank account. The exchange notices this transfer, then credits your account.
Of course, last year's cryptocurrency craze ran circles around traditional equities, including stocks. After beginning the year with a combined market cap of just $17.7 billion, the aggregate market cap of all virtual currencies by year's end had surged to $613 billion, equaling a climb of more than 3,300%. There may not be another year like this for any asset class for as long as we live.
Over the past six months, the cryptocurrency crash has brought out the skeptics. In fact, the ongoing “Crypto Winter” is a healthy cleansing of the ecosystem because the correction is effectively separating long-term value creators from short-term day traders. All in all, we believe that a “Crypto Spring” will arrive. And, institutional capital, a.k.a. the sticky, smart money, could possibly usher in this new season.