Before going all in on ICOs, investors must understand that investing in Cryptocurrencies is an extremely high-risk endeavour. ICOs have a particularly higher risk profile as most of them are only at the conceptualization stage; they often do not have a working protocol/product and hence, there’s minimal indication that it is going to be a success or even viable in the long-term. Therefore, it is vital that thorough due diligence is undertaken.
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In all of these cases, however, a value investor first and foremost must decide, with rigorous analysis and thorough examination, what they believe the fair value of an investment to be, and what degree of future potential it has. Only from there do they then examine what value the market has assigned the investment, in order to ascertain whether or not the investment is a wise one likely to yield good returns. Under no circumstances should one ever buy into a stock without knowing much, or anything at all about the stock, save for the general market sentiment or hype surrounding it, and its short term price movements. Buying a stock merely because it has seen great gains in the past, without any understanding of why it saw those gains and what gains it might expect to see in the future based on fundamental analysis of the stock, is an inordinately risky and foundationally bereft strategy.
Once the ICO tokens are released on an exchange, prices would tend to shoot up in value – often in multiples – as there will be a huge demand stemming from those that were not able to invest during the ICO stage. A trait of popular ICOs is that they would have a whitelisting period, where you must register yourself prior to the ICO period to book a slot for the actual ICO date.
This is where the ‘crypto’, incidentally, in cryptocurrency comes from. Cryptographic hash functions are fundamentally necessary for the functioning of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as they are one-way functions. One-way functions work such that it is easy to calculate an output given an input, but near impossible to calculate the original input given the output. Hence, cryptographic one-way hash functions enable bitcoin’s proof of work system, as it ensures that it is nigh-impossible for someone to just see the output required to unlock new bitcoins, and calculate in reverse the input that created that output.

Anonymous / private Bitcoin. Now, you may think, “What are you talking about? The BTC is anonymous already.”  This is a very unfortunate albeit popular misconception. All BTC transactions can be seen by the public, and by giving out your wallet address to someone, the person is able to see all the payments you’ve sent and received. The black market (weapon manufacturers and drug dealers) created a solution for this. They basically created software that mixes your coins with other coins. Nevertheless, the software needs to be trusted and may not work correctly, which is pretty bad when your freedom depends on it. Monero has the mixing system built-in. This makes it perfect for any kind of black market.  A popular darknet market adopted Monero, and this is how the currency got its first big growth boost.
In the case of a watermelon, what we intuitively grasp is that there is some fundamental, intrinsic value to the watermelon, and a ‘fair’ price for it. We have a general understanding of what this price should be, and are more than happy to buy watermelons when they are on discount relative to their fair price, and are reticent to do so when they are being sold at a premium to their fair price.

Hey, Will, I like this! Thanx for the info. I’m somewhat new to cryptos but not to investing — my Dad invested in the stock market since I was a kid and as an adult I was a registered investment advisor representative for a large US institution. One conclusion I’ve come to is that the skills and approach for crypto investing are no different than those for the stock market. I use the same strategies and analyses I use for stocks and etf’s and feel completely at home in the crypto market. Yes, I deal with more brokerage accounts, etc., but the principles are the same.
As for investing an initial lump sum to begin getting exposure in this space, my personal strategy would be to do a semi-timed dollar cost average, if one is particularly concerned that they might be investing just before a local minimum market crash, but also particularly concerned that the price may keep rapidly appreciating ad infinitum, and would like to get in before that happens. That is, I’d decide the total lump sum I’d be willing to set aside to invest here, say, $10,000, and invest 33% or 50% of it immediately. Then, if the market did crash, I’d be psychologically very happy, and be super excited to invest another 33% or 50%. On the flip side, if the market continued to rise indefinitely and never fell again, I’d also be happy that at least I was able to get exposure to the market and didn’t miss out entirely. A 33–33–33 split would allow me to invest 3 times when I felt the market was at a particularly good time for investment, and a 50–50 split twice. Just random arbitrary examples of divisions I might do here, depending on how exactly wary I feel about the market at the present moment in time.
Created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer, Litecoin is an open-source payment network that operates on a global scale. It is not controlled by any centralized power, and it uses the “scrypt” as proof-of-work. It is similar to Bitcoin but has the advantage of offering a faster rate of generation and therefore faster transactions. This is one of the main reasons why its enthusiasts continue to invest or hold onto the coin even after finding out that its founder sold his stack.
Anyone who has been drawn into the Apple ecosystem probably knows how powerful these can be. There are cryptocurrency projects that are creating ecosystems. We believe that successful ecosystems in the blockchain space will do exceptionally well long term. This is because they create efficiencies and are quite difficult for businesses to switch away from.
Bitcoin Investment Trust, Bitcoin Cash Investment Trust, Ethereum Investment Trust, Ethereum Classic Investment Trust, Litecoin Investment Trust, XRP Investment Trust, Zcash Investment Trust and Zen Investment Trust are passive investment vehicles and their shares may be adversely affected by losses that, had they been actively managed, might have been avoidable. Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund LLC is actively managed using proprietary investment strategies and processes. There can be no guarantee that these strategies and processes will produce the intended results and no guarantee that the fund will achieve its investment objective. This could result in the fund’s underperformance compared to other funds with similar investment objectives.

*An accredited investor, in the context of a natural person, includes anyone who either earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR, has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).
But here, more than anywhere else, is where you need to proceed with caution. Bitcoin is already incredibly risky, imagine what risks smaller and lesser-known crypto brings. Rounding out a portfolio with other cryptocurrencies may be able to help you evaluate the state and perhaps the future of that market, but many of them can quickly prove to be a flash in the pan. The sudden rise of initial coin offerings -- a method of crowdfunding new cryptocurrencies in a way that avoids venture capital entirely -- has many people excited for the future, but also has many wondering if it's going to create an even more dangerous bitcoin bubble.
Over the last half a year, Cboe and CME were not the only entities to have a dig at crypto futures, and Bitcoin was not the only asset underlying these contracts. Since March, UK-based financial institutions were responsible for a steady supply of breaking news in this domain. In March, a British cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinfloor made headlines by announcing the launch of the first physically settled Bitcoin-based futures product.
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%.

Rebalancing is a classic portfolio management process. Through the rebalancing method, assets are bought and sold to maintain a predetermined portfolio balance. This technique prevents specific assets within a portfolio from becoming too important or from being ignored completely. If a cryptocurrency has mooned 400% while others have remained stagnant, this asset could become 20% of your entire portfolio, even though you initially decided it would only be 5%.
"We see continued growth both in terms of the average daily volume and open interest," said Tim McCourt, group global head of equity products and alternative investments at the CME Group, a Chicago-based derivatives exchange. "The volume has steadily increased compared to when it was first launched in December. This is not a one-sided product because we have both supply and demand."

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.

While the adjusted outlook lists cryptocurrency instability as a possible risk factor, it also states that “we continue to believe that such declines will not negatively impact the performance of broader financial assets, because cryptocurrencies represent just 0.3 percent of world GDP as of mid-2018.” The report adds that cryptocurrencies “would not retain value in their current incarnation.”
Be skeptical of the hype. According to Welch, “in every way, the cryptocurrency market is a flow of supply and demand.” It’s one of the reasons it fluctuates so wildly. “When you see a lot of hype and excitement around a volatile investment that depends on supply and demand, take pause and look at what’s really going on.” He advises to take caution when you start to hear phrases like “get it before it’s gone” and “you won’t want to miss out on this.” A lot of hype can often be the precursor to a crash.
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.
Steindorff: Litecoin. LTC taught us a very valuable lesson about the strength of a brand and its corresponding community. We missed the boat on LTC early on because we felt that its use case overlapped too heavily with BTC. It was hard to imagine that LTC could gain any significant market share from its dominant predecessor but despite our beliefs, Litecoin’s brand and community have driven it to become a top 10 cryptocurrency with a lot of volume and liquidity. The lesson here was that the power of a trusted brand and a devoted community has the ability to outweigh innovative tech. 

Consequently, with the short term price movements of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being incredibly volatile and oftentimes nothing short of inexplicable, I highly caution anyone against making decisions such as selling their bitcoins on the way down in anticipation of a market crash, so as to either avoid the crash or to buy their coins back at a cheaper price at the bottom of the crash.
When a market is as volatile and unpredictable as this one, diversification is what ensures gains while limiting risk. Additionally, unlike most other markets, the cryptocurrency market tends to act as one cohesive unit, meaning that diversification does not threaten profits as it would in other markets. Rather, it ensures that one singular cryptocurrency’s drop in value will not have a large effect on your portfolio.
“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.”
If we apply this to cryptocurrency, we can draw some parallels between the traditional markets and the cryptocurrency market. One would typically regard Bitcoin as being less risky than an unknown altcoin. From this, we can then tailor our level of exposure to suit our risk appetite. For example, a very risky portfolio might be 80% in small-cap cryptocurrency and 20% in Bitcoin.  Using the information we have gathered so far, we can now construct our own long-term portfolio.

Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.
UPDATE: I do not recommend paying to enter a Cryptocurrency mastermind group – I’ve tried a few and found the ROI to be disappointing. I am now focussing on growing my portfolio passively utilising a cryptocurrency trading bot, the renowned Notorious Bot. Having a bot that trades for me, without emotion, using an advanced algorithm, allows me to grow my portfolio in the background without it cutting into my time or stressing me out. You can familiarise yourself with the basics of cryptocurrency trading bots here. 
Similarly, if you were able to bet at 1:2 odds (meaning if you bet $100 and win, you get $200) that a coin would yield heads, this would also be very +EV (positive expected value). The coin would still yield heads half the time, but that half of the time, you would earn $200, and the other half of the time, you would only lose $100. Hence, repeating this bet an infinite number of times would allow you to dramatically earn more money than you lost yet again.
As a general rule, what goes up can come down, and what goes up particularly quickly is privy to come down just as quickly. This is not to say that things will come down if they go up, but merely that they can, and certainly have before. This is particularly noteworthy today, with ethereum having seen some truly wild gains this year, all the way up from $7 back in December of last year to over $350 presently — a gain of 50X in just about half a year. Again, this isn’t to say ethereum will fall, but merely that it very well might, for any host of reasons, and it’s very important to keep this fact in mind and not overextend yourself with investments you perceive to be less volatile than they truly are. I’ll get back to this more later.
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