This system holds a lot of advantages even over gold’s natural system of being mined out of the ground. Gold’s mining is effectively random and not dictated by any perfect computer algorithm, and is consequently much more unpredictable in its output at any given moment. If a huge supply of gold is serendipitously found somewhere, it could theoretically dramatically inflate the rate at which gold enters the existing supply, and consequently cause an unanticipated decrease in the unit price of gold.
Bitcoin has captured America’s imagination. Whether or not the cryptocurrency will ultimately turn out to be a good investment or just a passing fad remains to be seen. Indeed, in the past several months Bitcoin prices have enjoyed a run-up that makes the 1999 tech bubble look staid by comparison. That excitement — the promise of sudden riches or sudden ruin — has a lot of people wondering how a bitcoin investment actually works.
For those who can remember back to the 90s, when the internet first started there was also no shortage of scams, fake professional looking e-commerce sites were popping up all over the place ready to take your credit card payment only never to deliver the product. If you were lucky, that would be the end of it. Otherwise, the less fortunate would have to chase down additional charges placed by the scammer once they had your credit card details.
Litecoin – Litecoin is regarded as Bitcoin's leading rival at present, and it is designed for processing smaller transactions faster. It was founded in October 2011 as "a coin that is silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” according to founder Charles Lee. Unlike the heavy computer horsepower required for Bitcoin mining, Litecoins can be mined by a normal desktop computer. Litecoin’s maximum limit is 84 million – four times Bitcoin’s 21-million limit – and it has a transaction processing time of about 2.5 minutes, about one-fourth that of Bitcoin.
The shares of each Vehicle are intended to reflect the price of the digital asset(s) held by that Vehicle, less fees and expenses. However, none of the Vehicles currently operates a redemption program and any Vehicle may halt creations from time to time. As a result, there can be no assurance that the value of a Vehicle’s shares will approximate the value of the applicable digital asset(s) held by that Vehicle, and indeed, in cases where shares are transferable, they may trade at a substantial premium over or discount to the value of such assets. Moreover, the prices of the underlying digital assets are derived from third-party indices and reference rates, and no assurance can be given as to the accuracy of these prices.
Trustlessness in this sense is a huge component and advantage of bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large. Another ground-breaking innovation the blockchain introduces is the concept of a smart contract, or a contract that similarly requires no trust or middleman to mediate, but is rather contractually executed in a deterministic fashion through code run on the blockchain.
A long time horizon also gives us the opportunity of compounding gains over time. Look at the cryptocurrency market as the challenge to find the next Amazon and potentially enjoy larger long term gains. Who wants to be the type of guys to sell Amazon when they were up a little in the year 2000 and miss out on nearly two decades of heavy gains? Also, if you are convinced about the long term growth potential of a cryptocurrency project, why sell it in a few months time?
That said, just as with everything, there’s survivorship bias here. What you don’t hear about are the profusion of people who lost their entire fortunes investing in cryptocurrency. While there are a few ways you can beat all the odds and come out vastly ahead in cryptocurrency, there are infinitely moreways you can lose everything you put into it and end up in a much worse place than where you started.
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Be a part of the future of blockchain by owning the cryptocurrency products that are solving real problems to better humanity. I have started a cryptocurrency community where we uncover the projects that are building a better future for tomorrow and how we can profit from them when they do. One such example can be found by clicking here. If you like the way we work, there are a lot more where that came from. I hope to see you inside.
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.
Gold, on the other hand, doesn’t inflate like fiat currencies do. That’s because there’s an intrinsically limited supply, and consequently, things tend to cost the same in gold over long periods of time. In fact, 2,000 years ago, Roman centurions were paid about 38.58 ounces of gold. In US dollars today, this comes out to about $48,350. The base salary of a captain in the US army today comes out to just about the same at $48,500.
Grayscale Investments, LLC (“Grayscale”) is the sponsor of 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, and the manager of Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund LLC. The trusts and the fund (collectively, the “Vehicles”) are private investment vehicles, are NOT registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or any other regulatory agency in any jurisdiction, and are NOT subject to the same regulatory requirements as SEC-registered exchange traded funds or mutual funds, including any requirement to provide certain periodic and standardized pricing and valuation information to investors. Shares of the Vehicles are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. Investments in the Vehicles are speculative investments that involve high degrees of risk.
A very cautious investor can buy on an exchange and then store the bitcoin code off the site or even on a piece of paper — that's what the Winklevoss twins and bitcoin early adopters have done, going so far as to cut up their code into pieces and store it in a vault using a system that only they understand to put the actual bitcoin code back together.
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.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.
Hey RV, could we maybe do a bit more of a technical/tradable look at crypto next? This along with John Burbank's section was very general discussion with rehashed netscape/internet analogies, removing middle men which offer nothing new. Focus is always on the transaction coins (admittedly there was more on smart contracts here) but what about other industries for blockchain: decentralized data, personal data, computing power, energy, supply chain etc?
Even though other transaction coins will definitely grow in value in the next few years, I think that Bitcoin will remain the dominant currency in this segment. While others may be faster, less centralized, or more private, Bitcoin’s incredible first mover advantage and allowance for upgrades makes me continue to place my faith in the reigning monarch of cryptocurrencies.
If people have trusted gold to date as a store of value because of its inherent scarcity and resistance to centralized control and price/supply manipulation, bitcoin does all that and more, and does it all better. Gold’s scarcity, as illustrated above, is anything but constant, and we’ve more than doubled our world’s supply of gold in just the last 50 years. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a precisely and publicly known proliferation schedule, and will approach the limit of its supply in just a few more decades.
In mid 2017, investors were all hot and bothered by Bitcoin. Many were looking for ways to get exposure through more traditional routes, like their brokerage account or retirement plan. One of the few ways to achieve this, was through the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust. The trust was actually established in 2013, but there wasn't much talk about it until just last year.
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In the case of bitcoin, my personal belief is that there is enough to justify the possibility of long term gain based on fundamentals and first mover advantage. If everything goes right, I do see a future in which it’s possible that bitcoin achieves a market cap similar to that of gold’s, given that so far as I can see, it provides all the benefits gold does, and a host of incredibly valuable advantages on top of those existing benefits. I even see a future where it just might be possible that bitcoin goes even further, and becomes a dominant leading global currency. It’s also possible that bitcoin’s blockchain is used to power many future technological innovations, such as smart contracts and even DAOs, and thereby creates and imbues itself with even more value.
On a bitcoin exchange, the investor trades at the coin's full price. For example, if bitcoin is trading at $8,000, an investor spends $8,000 on every coin priced at that amount. Most futures contracts involve leverage, allowing the trader to put up only a small fraction of the asset's price, but for bitcoin this "margin" is unusually high, at more than 40 percent. So the investor could control one $8,000 bitcoin for just over $3,200, plus a small fee for the transaction. If the price jumped 12.5 percent to $9,000, the gain would be 32 percent of the sum invested.
MintChip – Unlike most cryptocurrencies, MintChip is actually the creation of a government institution, specifically the Royal Canadian Mint. MintChip is a smartcard that holds electronic value and can transfer it securely from one chip to another. Like Bitcoin, MintChip does not need personal identification; unlike Bitcoin, it is backed by a physical currency, the Canadian dollar.
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.
I would venture to say that most people have far more confidence in their ability to predict short term market movements than is actually the case. I’ve seen plenty of instances of people who have thought that they could capitalize on short term volatility on the way up, and essentially ‘buy the dips and sell the tips’, and in every single instance I can recall, this strategy eventually fails, and often in a big way. At face value, this seems to make sense. If you think you can time when the dips will occur and when they will end, and similarly when the peaks will occur and when those will end, you can definitely make more profit along the way by selling high and buying low.
It’s been a difficult task to evaluate which cryptocurrency scams are run by people, but now we have to deal with an army of scam bots. The security software company Duo Security have discovered over 15,000 bots working through automated Twitter profiles coming together to try to perpetuate cryptocurrency scams. These bots are a nuisance, spreading spam and malware, as well as infiltrating online discussions.
“The subsequent [to December 2017] bitcoin price declines were not caused by the introduction of these futures, but rather the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency market. In addition, we believe irrational speculation by pessimistic investors has also contributed to the price movement over the past six months. As such, we see the ongoing crypto bear market as clearly cleansing the ecosystem from short-term oriented speculators, which will be good for the crypto ecosystem long-term.”