These are tokens built on one of the above mentioned platforms. They give access to a specific blockchain application, and are designed for a specific task. Utility tokens are not really my cup of tea yet, as they’re extremely risky due to two things. It’s still too early for mass adoption of these utilities because the technology is not ready yet (Ethereum’s scalability issues, for example), and because we don’t know what platforms will actually become the blockchain backbone of the digital world.
Still, Interactive Brokers will offer its customers access to the futures, though with greater restrictions. They won’t be able to go short -- betting that prices will decline -- and Interactive’s margin requirement, or how much investors have to set aside as collateral, will be at least 50 percent. That’s higher than either Cboe’s or CME’s margin requirements.
For those who are more comfortable with a predictable form of reward, mining is the way. Mining involves setting up of a rig, consisting of GPUs or CPUs and an investment in the electricity. Mining is only possible on cryptocurrencies that follow the Proof of Work protocol. It takes some effort to setup and gets things running, but it is attractive as a long-term passive income as long as you frontload the work.
Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. Completely non-reversible transactions are not really possible, since financial institutions cannot avoid mediating disputes.
Which would you trust? My personal bet would be absolutely, wholly, and unequivocally bitcoin. With the new US currency, I would be effectively required to trust that the US government would act without fail over the entire course of its indefinite existence to practice perfect fiscally responsible habits and not screw up its economy in any dramatic ways. I would also be aware that even under perfect circumstances, the currency would be fundamentally designed to inflate, and consequently my money would continue to lose value over time if I decided to hold and save it.
This is only the beginning. You don’t expect a horse to become a world champion racer straight from the womb. It takes time, training, and a fair bit of luck. The same is true of bitcoin and blockchain technology. But just because a horse may not be a world champion just quite yet, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet on that horse in the long run. If you see potential in that horse, and are willing to wait it out for the long run, go ahead, bet on that horse. One day, it might just take over the world, and if it does, you might just win big.
If you are wary of using your own funds to invest in Bitcoin, loans are an option. You can borrow money from a family member or friend, or you can use a peer-to-peer lending platform like SoFi to leverage funds for Bitcoin investments. However, be cautious when borrowing money for an investment. Interest rates can eliminate any gains you get from the investment, and the risk of losing money in such a volatile market is high.
In general, bigger market cap coins are less risky but have a lower chance of phenomenal returns. On the other hand, lower market cap coins generally have much more risk attached, but sometimes have the potential for greater gains. In cryptocurrency you must be aware that a large market cap coin can still potentially lose 70% or even 100% of it’s value.
These are tokens built on one of the above mentioned platforms. They give access to a specific blockchain application, and are designed for a specific task. Utility tokens are not really my cup of tea yet, as they’re extremely risky due to two things. It’s still too early for mass adoption of these utilities because the technology is not ready yet (Ethereum’s scalability issues, for example), and because we don’t know what platforms will actually become the blockchain backbone of the digital world.
History has proven this to be an often fatal assumptive error. The second things start to stop working, they tend to stop working in an extremely rapid, catastrophic fashion. There’s very little, if anything, stopping us from seeing another Great Depression sometime in the future, be it the near or longer term future. When that does happen — and it almost certainly will, sooner or later, if history is any good teacher — those who haven’t adequately prepared for it and taken appropriate prophylactic measures may very well find themselves in a bad spot.
A question to everybody out there who knows more about cryptos and blockchain than I do (so basically everybody...): is there actually a real life application for cryptos for Joe Sixpack who does not live in a 3rd world country? I owned bitcoin at some point and it was a pain in the a.. to make any use of them. So, is there something nowerdays which would make my life easier if I used cryptos? Answers very much appreciated.
Digression aside, that sums up most of the thoughts I have about the primary things to be cautious about when it comes to bitcoin investment. There are a few more practical matters to be extremely cautious about (namely, how you store your cryptocurrency), but I’ll address those in the next part, which will be an actual how-to guide showing actually actionable steps for those interested in getting into bitcoin investment.

You can trade immediately as much as you want by sending a wire (only applicable for US customers) to your account following their deposit instructions. There’s a $10 fee for this that GDAX charges, on top of whatever your bank charges to send wire transactions. This is the fastest method to deposit any amount of money you want and trade immediately with no limits, but not the cheapest.
Please note that virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but it does not have legal tender status. Virtual currencies are sometimes exchanged for U.S. dollars or other currencies around the world, but they are not currently backed nor supported by any government or central bank. Their value is completely derived by market forces of supply and demand, and they are more volatile than traditional fiat currencies. Profits and losses related to this volatility are amplified in margined futures contracts.
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