What’s also striking is that traditionally, these sorts of ‘angel or seed’ investments in new technologies have been closed off to all but an incredibly well connected inner circle of elite high net-worth individuals and institutions. Peter Thiel, for instance, was only approached to become Facebook’s first outside investor because he was already incredibly well known within Silicon Valley for having founded and sold PayPal for over a billion dollars. In contrast, with bitcoin, a random student in Norway was able to invest just $27 and make millions.
Johnny Steindorff launched Focus Investments in 2014. Focus was one of the first pure play crypto funds to launch, and was a first mover in what is now a burgeoning sector of active management. Being such an early adopter, Focus faced significant headwinds launching and managing a fund based on an emergent asset class with no institutional backing. However, their strategy proved extremely prescient, and Focus aggressively took advantage of the several thousand percent growth of the crypto sector into a ~$300B+ asset class.
Despite the recent bumps in the road, bitcoin continues to grow and at an expediential rate, but with that comes some harsh setbacks. There are going to be those who want to take advantage of the momentary disorganization and try to steal or cheat the system. Because bitcoin is not a company but lives in cyberspace, that is just part of the reality of what it takes before we get to where we need to be.
Ofir Beigel, CEO of 99bitcoins.com, suggests taking a slow burn approach to the cryptocurrency market if you’re looking for the best return possible. “Keep in mind there can be a lot of ‘noise’ in the background, like short-term bad news that lead to a crash,” Beigel says. “The key is to find investments you believe will yield after X time according to your targets, and to try detaching yourself from the short-term noise.”
This can all be a little confusing and James Altucher gives a great overview in his ebook Cryptocurrencies 101. The way I see it is that each cryptocurrency can be viewed as a public company. You would do your due diligence to figure out a companies potential for growth long term before investing in its stocks and James argues that the same diligence must be applied when investing in crypto. The main question to be asked here is:
If you are a Beginner based on the bullet points above, you are likely somewhat experienced in the world of cryptocurrency investment, and have seen some success in the market. However, the strategies that you undertake tend to only be slightly above market and you find trading difficult when the market takes unusual turns that throws something unexpected at your trading strategy.
Bitcoin (50%) – When speaking about cryptocurrencies, it means speaking of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the base asset for the other alternative coins, and is the primary decentralized crypto currency. Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009. Bitcoin is designed to function just like physical currency, which transfers value, and as time goes on more places accept Bitcoin as a legitimate way of payment.
Many Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that altcoins are totally unnecessary. Also, some say that, because they cannot rival the infrastructure Bitcoin boasts, altcoins will not succeed. However, altcoins have a significant role. Altcoins allow developers to experiment with unique features, and while it is true that, if the developers or community desires, Bitcoin can copy these features, fully-functioning altcoins are much better “cryptocurrency laboratories” than Bitcoin’s testnet. Moreover, one of Bitcoin’s most prominent goals is decentralization, and altcoins further decentralize the cryptocurrency community. Finally, altcoins give Bitcoin healthy competition and they give cryptocurrency users alternative options and forces Bitcoin’s developers to remain active and continue innovating. Users can adopt an altcoin if they do not feel that Bitcoin satisfies their digital desires. Also, the Bitcoin developers would have to adopt the features the community desired or risk losing its place as the preeminent cryptocurrency if enough users left Bitcoin for a particular altcoin.
First of all, just to clarify the amounts being staked by most players: you don’t need to be rich. You don’t even need to be crypto-rich. You just need to know the basics about how financial markets operate (and understand that you have no guarantees either way), decide if you want to buy the underlying asset or trade a CFD (Contract for Difference) derivative, and stake a certain minimum deposit.
Because of this, I actually personally keep my cryptocurrency distributed in several reasonably safe baskets. For instance, despite Coinbase being an exchange that fundamentally requires some trust, they are more trustworthy than almost any other exchange on a technical level (their customer service, however, leaves something to be desired), and it is virtually impossible for their coins to be hacked to any significant degree, and all those at risk of being hacked are fully insured. As a consequence, I leave some of my coins with them, merely because in many ways, I trust their technical security measures more than I trust my own. Before GBTC started trading at such an absurd premium, I also kept some of my funds with them, both in part to diversify across multiple platforms to reduce the risk of losing all my coins with one bad black swan event, and also because it was the only immediately easy way to put some of my retirement funds into bitcoin, short of creating a self directed IRA.
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Long downtrends in bear markets can last weeks or months in crypto (and Bull markets can last a long time to)… so be aware of the overall trend! Meanwhile dips in a bull or stagnant market can last hours or days and rallies in a bear market can last hours or days as well. It is general wisdom that one should avoid being a bull in a bear market, and avoid being a bear in a bull market. The trick is understanding what market we are in, in a longterm bear market you’ll want to buy slowly and be willing to take profits, in a short dip in a bull market you may want to spam the buy button. If you don’t know which type of market we are in, slowly creating a position and planning for the worst is far more conservative (assuming the asset is going to zero, and making sure you have enough cash on hand to buy all the way to zero, is about as conservative as it gets).
Historical statistical data of a growing economy has proven that it works: Looking at the S&P 500 over a 5-year period, it has achieved a return of around 60%. The same can be said for the FTSE 100, which achieved a return of 25% over the same time period. Markets generally tend to trend upwards over a period of time, so with this in mind, long-term investing does have its merits. This can be said not only about the last 5 years, but for almost every 5 years throughout the history of the new economy.
While Goldman Sachs’ skeptical stance on crypto “remains intact,” the investment bank’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein has suggested that the adoption of crypto like Bitcoin could happen in a similar way as that of paper money, which replaced gold and silver coins. In an interview in June, Blankfein stated that it is “too arrogant” to argue that crypto cannot be adopted on a large scale only because it is “uncomfortable” or “unfamiliar.”
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.
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The difficulty is knowing when the trend has changed, as such, I hedge altcoins and BTC against each other and make changes in my portfolio when a change in the trend becomes more obvious. When BTC dominance is falling, altcoins tend to perform better and vice versa, but this is not always the case, when they rise together, my gut instinct tells me that significant volumes of new capital are entering the market.
The purpose of hedging is not to gain from favorable price movements but prevent losses from potentially unfavorable price changes and in the process, maintain a predetermined financial result as permitted under the current market price. To hedge, someone is in the business of actually using or producing the underlying asset in a futures contract. When there is a gain from the futures contract, there is always a loss from the spot market, or vice versa. With such a gain and loss offsetting each other, the hedging effectively locks in the acceptable, current market price.
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Formerly known as Coinbase’s GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange), Coinbase Pro is for more advanced and active crypto traders. Switching over from Coinbase to Coinbase Pro, or moving assets from Coinbase to Coinbase Pro is simple enough. On the homepage, just click on the option in the upper left corner: Deposit. Look here, courtesy of The Coinbase Blog, :
For now, let’s start with a quick history lesson about bitcoin. Bitcoin was officially unveiled to the public in a white paper published October 31st, 2008. The white paper is actually extremely readable, very short (just 8 pages), and incredibly elegantly written. If you want to understand why bitcoin is so compelling straight from the horse’s mouth, you must read this paper. It will explain everything better than I or anyone else likely ever could.
In addition, investing in Bitcoin Investment Trust allows investors to keep their holdings in both bitcoin and stocks together in one brokerage account. If you buy bitcoin directly, you typically have to use cryptocurrency exchanges that don't offer regular stock trading, forcing you to have two accounts and deal with the challenges involved in moving money between them.
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.
Ripple – Ripple is more in the nature of a payment protocol created and developed by a company named Ripple, which is based on the concept of Real time Gross Settlement. It was initially released in the year 2012. Also known as the corporate cousin of bitcoin, ripple is another cryptocurrency which saw sudden uptick in August. It shot from levels of 16 cents to 30 cents within a span of 24 hours on August 23. Since then, it has retreated back to levels of 20 cents.
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.
Cryptocurrency price movements can be massive. In a day you need to be comfortable with the idea of our investments going up and down 50%. Somehow making a loss feels 10 times worse than making the same gain feels good. This is why only investing what you can afford to lose is so important. If you are over invested in crypto, you will be more emotionally susceptible to buying at the highs and selling at the lows.
Less immediately obvious examples include things like Litecoin. Litecoin, too, offers fundamentally no truly great innovations over bitcoin — in short, nothing that bitcoin itself couldn’t adopt over time. It uses a different hashing algorithm and just adopted Segregated Witness, the same update that bitcoin is debating adopting that would allow the implementation of layer two protocols such as the lightning network, but beyond this, doesn’t have much in the way of unique differentiation going for it. This said, Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin and previously the Director of Engineering at Coinbase, one of the most well respected and successful bitcoin exchanges, just announced his departure from Coinbase to focus solely on improving Litecoin. It remains to be seen what will come from this endeavor, as Charlie certainly is without question one of the most accomplished and formidable players in the cryptocurrency sphere, but largely litecoin appears to be a small hedge in the slight off chance that bitcoin doesn’t actually manage to resolve its scaling issues, and begins to catastrophically lose market adoption and faith and crumble into the ground. In a case like that, the notion is that litecoin would be able to quickly take over the ground lost by bitcoin, and become the dominant cryptocurrency.
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.
Bitcoin Investment Trust is an entity that was established to give investors a way to get exposure to the bitcoin market without actually buying their own bitcoin. The trust itself owns a substantial amount of the cryptocurrency -- roughly 200,000 bitcoin currently. Each share of the trust works out to just under 0.001 bitcoin, meaning an equivalent net asset value of roughly $6.50 with bitcoin prices near $6,500 per token.
NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Grayscale Investments, LLC, the sponsor (the "Sponsor") of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX:GBTC) (the "Trust"), announced today that it has requested withdrawal of its Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-215627) that was initially filed on January 20, 2017 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed public offering of its shares. The Registration Statement has not been declared effective, and no securities have been sold in connection with the offering described in the Registration Statement. Withdrawal of the Registration Statement does not impact quotation of the Trust's shares on the OTCQX.
The futures offered by Cboe Global Markets Inc., and similar contracts that start trading in a week at at another Chicago-based exchange, CME Group Inc., may open the door to greater inflows of institutional money, while also making it easier to bet on bitcoin’s decline. Either way, it’s likely trading will start slowly, said Mike Novogratz, chief executive officer of Galaxy Investment Partners, which is raising a crypto hedge fund targeted at $500 million.
The main value of cryptocurrency is capital flight. I think Bitcoin and Monero will be the big winners. Satoshi Nakamoto put the following message in the genesis block of Bitcoin:: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks." Central banks have created conditions and sentiment that allowed Bitcoin to bootstrap. Without extreme monetary policy Bitcoin likely never reaches a critical mass. Bitcoin and Gold are complementary assets because multisig wallets will reduce counterparty risk.
This has proved a mistake countless times throughout history. Zimbabwe is a classic example, where the Zimbabwean dollar, thanks to an incompetent government among other factors, experienced enormous levels of hyperinflation. At one point, inflation was estimated at almost 80 billionpercent in just a single month.The following image gives an idea of just how rapidly and absurdly a fiat currency can spiral out of control, once it reaches the point of no return.
0x Aelf Aeternity Aion Altcoins Ardor Augur Basic Attention Token Bitcoin Bitcoin Cash Bitcoin Diamond Bitcoin Gold Bitshares BNB Bytecoin Bytom Cardano ChainLink Dash Decred Dentacoin DigiByte Dogecoin Dragonchain Elastos Electroneum EOS Ethereum Ethereum Classic Forks Golem GXChain Hcash Holochain ICON IOST IOTA Komodo Kyber Network Lisk Litecoin Loopring Maker Mithril Monero Nano NEM NEO OmiseGo Ontology Polymath Populous Privacy Coins Qtum Quantstamp Raiden Rchain ReddCoin Request Network Siacoin Stablecoins Status Steem Stellar Stratis Substratum Tether Tezos TRON VeChain Verge Wanchain Waves XRP Zcash Zilliqa
The appeal for many is the fact that Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning no specific group or governing body has control over it. Instead, it is secured by advanced cryptography, a set of military-grade encryptions, and regulated by a network called the Blockchain. The Blockchain acts as a digital ledger, confirming buyer/seller funds and establishing the order in which transactions take place.
"This isn't comparable to other markets since what is unique about cryptocurrencies is that you can transfer ownership from peer to peer in a short amount of time and receive the actual asset," he says. "Settlement happens instantaneously and allows people to trade in a more free environment while the futures contracts are for institutional buyers."
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).
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.
It has nothing to do with a well-thought-out investment strategy that will take into account elements such as company results or factors that may affect the stock performance. It is also impossible to pick an appropriate investment strategy without analyzing the investors’ risk tolerance, i.e. the level or amount of capital they are prepared to lose. These are just some of the many things to consider before entering the crypto market.
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.
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.
Steindorff: In 2014 my business partner, Tucker Waterman and I drove to San Francisco to attend Coin Congress. The conference was primarily dominated by Bitcoin maximalists, a colloquial term for those who believed bitcoin would be the only successful blockchain based digital-asset. Simultaneously, there was a small minority group of about a dozen of us with a brewing excitement about the prospect of BTC 2.0. All 12 of us grabbed lunch during the conference and discussed the prospect of alternative digital-asset backed protocols leveraging blockchain technology to establish use cases beyond a medium of exchange, unit of account or store of value. Among these fringe thinkers was Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin.
The problem with this is that just about everyone else investing in these things is thinking the same thing, and everyone involved is effectively playing the greater fool theory, expecting that they will be smarter than everyone else and be able to time the market better than everyone else, and get out before everyone else does, and before the price eventually collapses. By mere inviolable fact, most people who engage in this form of speculation are guaranteed to lose in a big way. Over enough iterations, the eventual likelihood of loss generally grows to become one, in my opinion, as one must continue to time a market correctly time and time again for this to work. While it may seem like the market will continue being bullish for you to get in and get out before things go south, this is true of every moment in time right up until things go south all at once. Inevitably, at some point, the gravy train will have to derail and explode in a rolling ball of fire.
Cryptocurrency investment and trading is as popular as ever now, in large part thanks to the crypto market’s memorable colossal rise in late 2017. Since then, the market has appeared to have reached an excellent balance of stability and volatility, allowing investors to see outsized returns with less risk involved. Those in the know have invested heavily into crypto, and have seen great success.
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.
Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger