For many investors, being able to invest in bitcoin through the Bitcoin Investment Trust is worth paying a fairly expensive fee. The trust sponsor deals with all of the mechanics of investing in bitcoin, including obtaining cryptocurrency tokens, holding them in safekeeping, and then making any future transactions as necessary. Investing in the trust is as easy as buying or selling shares when the stock market is open, and that has real advantages over the lengthening processing times involved in handling actual changes of ownership in bitcoin tokens themselves.
Ripple – Ripple was launched by OpenCoin, a company founded by technology entrepreneur Chris Larsen in 2012. Like Bitcoin, Ripple is both a currency and a payment system. The currency component is XRP, which has a mathematical foundation like Bitcoin. The payment mechanism enables the transfer of funds in any currency to another user on the Ripple network within seconds, in contrast to Bitcoin transactions, which can take as long as 10 minutes to confirm.
The primary disadvantage of Bitcoin Investment Trust is that the share price of the trust doesn't necessarily mirror what the actual bitcoin market is doing. For instance, shares of the trust right now trade at between $8.50 and $9. That price is more than 30% higher than the actual value of the bitcoin within the trust that each share represents. In essence, for every $1.30 you invest in the trust right now, you're only getting $1 worth of bitcoin.
A select few cryptocurrencies out of the thousands will survive and be adopted mainstream just as there are a select few currencies that are used by the majority of the world. However, the main crypto currencies won’t be determined by economic power but by the unique value and benefits that they provide. e.g. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency however, it is built on a platform that allows developers to create smart contracts and decentralised apps on the blockchain. This unique and useful feature of Ethereum gives it a strong chance of surviving in the long run.
* Bitcoin Investment Trust does not currently operate a redemption program and may halt creations from time to time. There can be no assurance that the value of the shares will approximate the value of the Bitcoin held by the Trust and the shares may trade at a substantial premium over or discount to the value of the Trust's Bitcoin. The Trust may, but will not be required to, seek regulatory approval to operate a redemption program.
With cryptocurrencies, diversification simply doesn't exist. We'd like to think it does, as there are more than 1,600 investable virtual currencies, each with their own plan of action and often proprietary blockchain -- the underlying digital and decentralized ledger responsible for recording all transactions without the need for a bank. But the fact of the matter is that most cryptocurrencies tend to move in tandem with bitcoin, the largest digital currency of them all. This association almost always negates the impact of diversification.
This isn’t necessarily wrong, or inaccurate. This is the reason I first started paying attention to bitcoin. Countless people *have* made shocking amounts of money investing in cryptocurrency. I’ve personally made over $400,000 in less than two years. In fact, bitcoin has already proven to be the best investment in all of recorded history by a shocking margin for those who got in at its most early stages.
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.
Civic is a “secure identity platform” that provides on-demand, secure, and low-cost identity verification on the blockchain. Civic is trying to eliminate the need for usernames and passwords, so it provides multi-factor authentication without a password, username, physical hardware token, or third party authenticator. All the data is fully encrypted in the app. This means that the creators/owners do not have any access to your personal data, and you only share what YOU want to share about yourself.
In addition, we have other financial institutions trying to build up their crypto portfolio while the price is still low. Goldman Sachs setting up a 100% dedicated cryptocurrency trading desk, Bloomberg’s Galaxy Crypto Index Fund, Coinbase’s custodial services now set up for large institutional investors, Susquehanna getting into the mix trading millions of dollars of bitcoin for their wealthy clients, and now Blackrock, the world’s largest investment fund manager is looking to also get into the mix.
The most dangerous game of all, then, in my opinion, is day trading in altcoins that one doesn’t believe in long term. This is basically combining every ‘mistake’ I mention above: trading in something because of short term price movements, not holding it long term, day trading, and speculating in highly risky small cap altcoins. If you manage to survive doing this over any long period of time (5 years+, let’s say) and end up net profitable (particularly if you end up more profitable than just buying and holding over that same period of time), please do let me know, as I’d be extremely curious to hear just how you pulled it off.
From there, you’re ready to buy and sell Bitcoin based on the current market value. Rather than paying for a set amount of Bitcoin, you will tell the exchange how much money you want to trade, and they’ll break down how much Bitcoin you can buy. Unless you’re investing thousands of dollars into the cryptocurrency, you’re likely to be buying a fraction of one Bitcoin.
In the year 2018, we’ll see these aspects and more flourish. Imagine all of the industries in the world and imagine if each industry had a cryptocurrency backing it. Bitcoin is a very generic coin used in anonymous wealth transfer. We’ll see fewer of these generic coins come to exist; we’ll start to see very creative and ingenious applications of specific technology in very specific industries.
The intangibility of bitcoin, however, does seem to hang some people up. It’s sometimes difficult to immediately conceive of how bitcoins could possibly hold value, as these people contend, they are intrinsically worthless. They are nothing but a concept, backed up by some computer code. Gold is a physical, tangible object that you can hold in your hand. It has real uses in industry and as jewelry that lend it value. Even paper money can be used for kindling or toilet paper if the need necessitates.
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