As the Chicago Board Options Exchange launched cash-settled Bitcoin futures trading on December 11, and their rivals Chicago Mercantile Exchange followed suit six day later, prices of both BTC derivatives and the coin itself surged amid an unprecedented wave of publicity. Each Cboe contract was for one Bitcoin, while each CME futures represented five. Both enabled traders to take either long (agreement to buy) or short (agreement to sell) positions, meaning that investors could bet on both increase and decline of Bitcoin price.
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.
In the case of bitcoin, my personal belief is that there is enough to justify the possibility of long term gain based on fundamentals and first mover advantage. If everything goes right, I do see a future in which it’s possible that bitcoin achieves a market cap similar to that of gold’s, given that so far as I can see, it provides all the benefits gold does, and a host of incredibly valuable advantages on top of those existing benefits. I even see a future where it just might be possible that bitcoin goes even further, and becomes a dominant leading global currency. It’s also possible that bitcoin’s blockchain is used to power many future technological innovations, such as smart contracts and even DAOs, and thereby creates and imbues itself with even more value.
This, too, is not merely a theoretical matter. Ethereum did indeed hard fork after the DAO hack, and split off into ETH (the current dominant blockchain for ethereum) and ETC (the ‘classic’, or original blockchain for ethereum). As of this time, ETC is worth over $20 a coin — more, in fact, than all of ethereum was worth before the hack. Had I kept my ethereum on Coinbase or another exchange like it at the time of the hard fork, I personally would have lost 5 figures in ETC (at present values) merely because the exchanges wouldn’t give me access to these coins that I rightfully owned.
Instability is good for Bitcoin. In general, political unrest is not good for the stock market -- whose value is tied to established companies that depend on government services, stable financial institutions, a dependable workforce and so on. However, unrest is good for Bitcoin, which is resilient to political unrest because it is not a government-backed currency. There's evidence that recent unrest in Asia contributed to the Bitcoin price surge. If you think the future holds more instability for governments and traditional banks, you might find Bitcoin to be a compelling investment.
The next time I heard about bitcoin was in the fall of 2013, when it began its last truly meteoric price rise from $100 all the way up to $1200. This time around, I distinctly remembered thinking I’d missed the boat back when the price was just $100, and kicked myself for being totally wrong. I resolved to not make the same mistake again, and tried to get in before I missed out again.
That said, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that one doesn’t get infinite opportunities to keep playing this bet out over and over again. There is only one bitcoin in the world, and we only have one opportunity to play out this exact bet. Given this fact, it’s important to realize that if this were somehow to actually be a perfectly EV neutral bet, with a possibility of a 150X upside and a 0.66% chance of realizing that upside, it would still mean that we have a 99.33% chance of losing all our money that we place on this bet. It would be extremely foolish, therefore, to invest all our money into such a wildly speculative investment, even if it is technically EV neutral or even slightly EV positive. What might make sense, is to set aside a responsibly proportionate amount of money specifically earmarked for such wildly speculative investments as a part of a holistic investment portfolio, that one is fully willing and able to lose without significant impact to one’s well-being or quality of life, and to invest that amount of money in a +EV bet like this.
As the tech literacy of the population increases, acceptance of crypto as a legitimate store of value follows, and it boomed. Titles along the lines of ‘Bitcoin price hits new all-time high’ and ‘Ethereum price surges’ are starting to perforate the general public’s news feed. What we know for sure is that people who were once skeptical of Bitcoin and the technology behind it are slowly understanding and getting increasingly involved with crypto. As at the time of writing, the market cap of the entire crypto space is at 30.9 billion USD. It was 20 billion just four months ago. What would it be four months from now?
You would have heard of Bitcoin and the ‘altcoins.’ How this naming convention started was because back in the days of 2011, forks of Bitcoin appeared in the markets. The forks, or clones, each aspire to serve a niche area, aiming to be ‘better’ than Bitcoin. Since then countless new crypto has emerged, eroding away Bitcoin’s crypto market cap dominance. These altcoins are gaining market share at an alarming speed. Ten times or more growth has been observed in a time span as short as six weeks (see PIVX, an altcoin).
Consensus Method – One of the main differences between cryptocurrencies is their verification method, and the oldest and most common method is called Proof of Work (POW). A computer has to spend time and energy solving a difficult math problem to gain the right to verify a transaction. But the problem with this method is that it needs a huge amount of energy to operate. On the other hand, Proof-of-Stake (POS) systems try to solve this issue by letting the users with the largest share of the currency verify the transactions. These systems claim faster transaction speeds and require less processing power to operate. However, concern over security means that few coins use an entirely proof-of-stake-based system.
Again, while this all seems incredibly far-fetched today for most people (but not all, as the present day European migrant crisis has made abundantly clear), it happens much more often than one might expect. A little remembered fact is that the United States itself once outlawed the possession of gold, back in 1933 with Executive Order 6102, and forced all its citizens to relinquish all gold to the United States at a fixed price of $20.67 per troy ounce.
Once you have done all your research and established your portfolio balances, it’s time to add some more elements to your strategy. These elements ensure consistency and promote discipline, something that is of utmost importance for any strategy. Consistent discipline removes your emotions from the strategy and creates the biggest upside potential. Nothing goes up forever.
If you are serious about cryptocurrency trading, I strongly recommend finding a mastermind group that suits your skill level and budget so that you can improve your knowledge, expose yourself to less risk, and gain access to news and tips before they hit the mainstream market – this is where the real money is to be made. In my opinion, your best bet is to sign up to use the Notorious Bot as you get a ton of value not only from the bot but also from the Discord channel where you have access to veteran traders and analysts.
After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.
“There really isn't much benefit for Main Street investors to use the Wall Street futures. They can just as easily buy bitcoin directly. As well, the minimum contract size on the futures could be a barrier to entry. The contracts of the CME are set at blocks of 5 BTC each, which is more than most retail customers are used to dealing with. Even the CBOE contracts that are set at 1 BTC each are difficult to deal with for most people,” – concludes eToro’s Mati Greenspan.
This isn’t a concern, however, because the bitcoin network runs on consensus, and accepts whichever blockchain is the longest. In practice, this means that whichever blockchain has the most computing power behind it is effectively guaranteed to win, as they’ll be able to calculate the solutions to the hash problems and find new blocks faster than their less powerful competitors.
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.
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.
The simplest example is flipping a coin. This will yield heads 50% of the time, and tails 50% of the time. Expected value of betting on the coin yielding heads, hence, is 0. This is because in any one given flip, the coin has exactly a 50% chance of coming up heads. Hence, if you bet $100 on the coin coming up heads an infinite number of times, your expected gain, or value, from such an action, is to be $0.
Even though rebalancing means a bit more work (there’s no portfolio tracker to my knowledge that does this yet), you can use this method to establish the relative presence of an overarching type of coin in your portfolio, like the financial transactions/protocol/utility coin distribution. Are utility tokens taking up a bigger and bigger part of your entire portfolio? Then it’s a good idea to identify why this is happening and consider selling some of the leading utility tokens to buy some more transaction or protocol coins.
Another possible attempt at investing in bitcoin's value without buying bitcoins is with bitcoin futures. Bitcoin futures allow you to essentially bet on the cryptocurrency's value in the future; if you think the price of bitcoin will go up in the future, you could buy a futures contract. Should your instinct be right, and the price goes up when the contract expires, you're owed an equal amount to the gains. Notable places that offer bitcoin futures contract are the Chicago Board Options Exchange, or CBOE, and financial market CME Group.
The biggest risk when investing and trading is you: your emotions, biases, and beliefs. This strategy tries to remove the “you” as much as possible from the equation. This article accurately depicts the biases and shortcomings we all have. The markets are not rational; almost everyone lets their emotions (such as FOMO and panic-selling) get the best of them. In the end, big money will always beat you if you don’t come to terms with these cold hard truths.
Since their triumphant advent in the wake of the December 2017 bull run, Bitcoin futures seem to have occupied an oddly fixed position in the minds of many cryptocurrency buffs. A popular view among those who follow the dynamics of the crypto world rests on a set of established points about BTC futures: they exist since late 2017; they are offered by Cboe and CME, two respectable regulated exchanges; they help manage investment risks and as such are supposed to draw institutional money into the crypto space, mitigating price volatility and lending credence to the underlying asset.