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.
Recommendations and Information found on Cryptopotato are those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of Cryptopotato on whether to buy, sell or hold any investments. Investors should be cautious about any recommendations given. All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into individual coins before making a purchase decision. Use information at your own risk.
You’ll find that different exchanges cater to different markets. Today, most countries have at least one cryptocurrency exchange specializing in their own currency. There are exchanges that can accept New Zealand Dollars in exchange for bitcoin, for example. Other exchanges are known for certain pairs. Bithumb, for example, has particularly strong liquidity in the ETH/KRW (South Korean Won) pair at the moment (and it’s easily the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in Korea).
This has been the traditional method of earning bitcoin however, the rise of bitcoin mining farms has made it difficult to compete with for the average person. Not to mention the cost and maintenance of the hardware. Cloud Mining is an alternative that let’s you essentially rent hardware that’s already been setup for mining remotely. Saving you the hassle and setup costs.
On the other hand, with bitcoin, I wouldn’t have to trust anyone at all. I would know for certain that my coins wouldn’t lose their value due to inflation as a consequence of their designed and indelible scarcity. I would also know that as I stored my coins myself, no one else, not even a bank, could actually go and spend 90% of my money, and fail to give it back to me in the event of a bank run. Furthermore, no one could forcibly confiscate my money under any circumstances, as I could always store it in such a way that it could never be retrieved except with my consent. No one would even necessarily be able to know how much money I held, unless I chose to make that information public.
Bitcoin’s main benefits of decentralization and transaction anonymity have also made it a favored currency for a host of illegal activities including money laundering, drug peddling, smuggling and weapons procurement. This has attracted the attention of powerful regulatory and other government agencies such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the SEC, and even the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In March 2013, FinCEN issued rules that defined virtual currency exchanges and administrators as money service businesses, bringing them within the ambit of government regulation. In May that year, the DHS froze an account of Mt. Gox – the largest Bitcoin exchange – that was held at Wells Fargo, alleging that it broke anti-money laundering laws. And in August, New York’s Department of Financial Services issued subpoenas to 22 emerging payment companies, many of which handled Bitcoin, asking about their measures to prevent money laundering and ensure consumer protection.
This article is a very high level introduction to the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX:GBTC). If you are unsure about what Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is, then you can start by reading some of my articles on the subject. Alternatively, if you're a visual learner there are many great videos that can get you up to a basic level of understanding. Let's begin.
Moreover, in the event of a hard fork, whereby two blockchains are created, and consequently, two sets of coins that you technically should own, only some exchanges will actually give you access to both sets of coins. Most notably, Coinbase has explicitly stated that they will only give you access to the dominant blockchain that emerges from a hard fork, no matter how much value the market assigns the non-dominant chain. They may or may not give you access to the other coins in the future, but there is no guarantee either way. In any event, with any exchange you are fundamentally agreeing to trust them to give you access to both sets of your coins, even if they say they will. If you own your coins yourself in your own wallet, however, you need to trust no one. You will automatically own both sets of coins by default in the event of any fork.
Taking profit in Bitcoin means that you sell your altcoins for Bitcoin, and in contrast to using the sum to buy other altcoins for rebalancing purposes, you keep the value in Bitcoin. This is a necessary precaution to protect yourself from a possible correction or crash. As the past 2 years have clearly indicated, Bitcoin tends to decline in value less than altcoins, and as such taking profits in Bitcoin shields your portfolio from market crashes better than any altcoin can.
Then, when they successfully find a solution to the next hash problem and mine a block of bitcoins, something magical happens. They get to add the block they just mined to the end of the existing blockchain — and with it, they include every transaction that was initiated on the bitcoin network since the last block was mined. They then propagate this block they just created to the rest of the network of bitcoin miners, who all then update their own blockchains with this new block, and begin working on solving the next hash problem.
When buying altcoins, I always keep an eye on Bitcoin’s value, and over time I’ve made some important observations with regard to this. There are almost never three green days in row, and when the market is in the red, Bitcoin tends to decline less then altcoins. Once this happens, your order will be filled and you’ll get your 3% discount, since the altcoin tends to drop harder than Bitcoin.
Generally speaking, diversification -- the ability for investors to buy stocks in different industries and sectors, or based on market cap, growth rate, or dividend yield -- has allowed investors the opportunity to maximize their long-term capital appreciation potential. If one sector is doing poorly, a diversified portfolio might be hedged with another industry or sector that's thriving. Plus, with the ability to load a diversified portfolio with dividend-paying stocks, complete with reinvestment, it's often easy to build wealth over time. All it really takes is patience, discipline, and the resolve to buy stocks at regular intervals over time, regardless of how "high" or "low" the market is trading.
*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 $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).
Update 1st October 2018: The cryptocurrency market has been volatile as ever over the last 6 months. Unless you are a skilled trader, it is harder to make money in a bear market than in a bull market – and we have been in a bear market for some time now. Personally, I have stopped trading and I am now focussing on growing my portfolio passively using a cryptocurrency trading bot – you can find out more about this here. If you are new to crypto, read on!
This is just my 0.02$, as always, I can be completely wrong, and I maintain the right to contradict myself in the future. Also, for the record, this article references only my opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice if you want to. And, remember, always do your own research (DYOR).
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Investors tend to focus more on fundamental analysis with technical analysis used to support entry positions and portfolio balancing. Investing long-term enables you to benefit from the compound growth of both your portfolio and individual investments, enhancing this by diversifying profits from good investments into new opportunities. Where investing in stocks allows you to benefit from incremental income from dividends, with certain Crypto investments you can do similar by staking and receiving newly minted coins from block rewards.
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.
Yet this is not to say that the US companies halted their efforts to facilitate crypto-based derivatives trading. During the first week of May, the New York Times reported that both Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange were briskly moving ahead with their plans to launch crypto trading platforms and products. A few weeks later, a Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna International Group listed Bitcoin futures among their financial products.
This gave birth to a whole new industry of business, companies like Verisign were created to ensure sites asking for your credit card details were in fact who they said they were by creating digital certificates that employed encryption to online shoppers. Eventually, most fraudsters were stomped out. The same thing is happening in the blockchain space right now and with it, a whole new industry is taking shape to change blockchain for the better.
A cryptocurrency that aspires to become part of the mainstream financial system may have to satisfy widely divergent criteria. It would need to be mathematically complex (to avoid fraud and hacker attacks) but easy for consumers to understand; decentralized but with adequate consumer safeguards and protection; and preserve user anonymity without being a conduit for tax evasion, money laundering and other nefarious activities. Since these are formidable criteria to satisfy, is it possible that the most popular cryptocurrency in a few years’ time could have attributes that fall in between heavily-regulated fiat currencies and today’s cryptocurrencies? While that possibility looks remote, there is little doubt that as the leading cryptocurrency at present, Bitcoin’s success (or lack thereof) in dealing with the challenges it faces may determine the fortunes of other cryptocurrencies in the years ahead.
“Blockchain is a system of automated trust,” answered Trevor Welch, Chief Investment Officer at International Blockchain Investments (IBI). “We currently live in a world where some economies lack trust and transparency, others, like the US, apply it manually and with high cost and financial burden as well as a significant degree of human error. As a result any global economy can benefit from processing transactions that are verified and validated on a distributed public ledger.”
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.
These are cryptocurrencies bound to blockchains that allow for the creation of applications on them, such as Ethereum, NEO, Cardano, Lisk, VeChainThor, and many more. The underlying platforms of these coins create an actual need – and thus a demand – for the coins, as they are needed to make use of the applications and buy into ICOs. In my opinion, these coins are currently the safest and have the largest growth potential, as the blockchains they are built on have the capacity to become the foundation of the decentralized world.
Don’t buy in at market prices, though. Even though this is a convenient option, it usually knocks a few percentages off your value. I always set my buy order 3% below the current market price on exchanges. The market price is never the best price you can get at that moment on exchanges such as Binance, Bittrex, Kucoin and Poloniex. It might take a day before your order is filled if you set the limit price 3% below the market price, but in my experience, my orders have always been filled.
If you feel comfortable with Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, you’re are probably ready to move on to trading in a wider variety of cryptocurrencies. If you’re looking to trade in anything beyond Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or Ether, like Stellar, Ripple, Cardano, NEO, Dash or TRON (for example), you’ll need to add another crypto trading platform to your rounds. A site like Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex, or Poloniex.
You can see the present difficulty of mining bitcoin here. It should be evident from a half-second glance that the amount of computing power working to mine bitcoin right now is immense, and the difficulty is proportionally similarly immense. As of the time of this writing right now, there are close to 5 billion billion hashes per second being run to try to find the next block of bitcoin.
“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.
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Holding gold privately removes the need to trust either of these points of failure in the modern banking system, but comes with its own host of problems. Namely, while gold has proven to be an excellent store of value over time, it is incredibly poor for actual day to day use in the modern economy. To transact with gold is excessively cumbersome and inconvenient. No one would consider walking around with an ounce of gold on them, measuring and shaving off exact portions of gold to pay for a cup of coffee, groceries, or a bus ride. Worse, it’s even more difficult and time consuming to send gold to anyone who isn’t physically in the same exact location as you.
A bitcoin is a virtual currency first introduced in the year 2008 by an anonymous group called Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s an open source peer-to-peer cryptographical system (direct connections without an intermediary) where transactions happen through a public ledger called blockchain, handling users’ data anonymously. Eight years since its introduction, bitcoin is today the most widely used and accepted digital currency.
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.