I'd suggest the safest way to play the cryptocurrency market is through the graphic processing unit (GPU) manufacturers, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). Both NVIDIA and Advanced Micro make GPUs that cryptocurrency miners use to validate transactions. Being the first to solve these complex mathematical equations, which are a product of encryption within a blockchain, entitles crypto miners to a block reward that's paid out in tokens of the virtual currency being mined. Though the margins on cryptocurrency mining have come down significantly from where they were in December 2017, it's still quite profitable for miners to validate transactions and collect their reward. This puts NVIDIA's and AMD's GPUs in high demand.
Opportunities on this scale only seem to come about when the world is going through mass technological change. Yes, i’m likening bitcoin to the dot-com era and the thousands who made bank because they chose to become early adopters of the technology. They saw opportunity and took a risk which paid off immensely once the rest of the world got over their prejudice and realised the value.
For successful cryptocurrency projects, it’s ICO is usually the cheapest time to make an investment. This means that we are able to get the maximum multiples on our investment. However, this upside comes with a lot of risks. Unfortunately there are many scam ICOs out there and many projects never really take off. This area of cryptocurrency investment really is high risk/high reward and because of that, we cannot allocate a sizeable portion of our portfolio to it.
This type of cryptocurrency is on the rise. In this model, a cryptocurrency represents the value of an underlying asset such as gold, art, fiat currencies, etc. It represents a new, more accessible way to invest in assets other than cryptocurrencies, through cryptocurrencies. Stable coins provide an excellent way to take shelter from a corrective storm. I’m only interested in projects leveraging blockchain technology to create completely new business models and disrupting existing ones, but these cryptos are very interesting nonetheless.
There have been a lot of new digital asset fund launches in 2017, but still only a couple of funds with more than $10m under management and even fewer with more than $100m under management. Flows into actively managed digital asset funds were strongest in the UHNW, family office and VC channel in 2017. We believe 2018 will mark the beginning of Wall Street and institutional capital entering the digital asset market. You’ll see endowments and global macro managers enter the market in a big way. You’ll see some sovereign wealth funds look to get exposure. That said, it is important to level-set. This is a still a tiny market. It’s a $300 billion market today, so it still has a ways to go before hitting mainstream.
Bitcoin v alt balancing: my BTC v altcoin positions are balanced relative to how Bitcoin market dominance is trending, you can see this chart on CoinMarketCap. If Bitcoin market dominance is at 50% but falling, then my Bitcoin position will be at less than 40%. If Bitcoin market dominance is 50% but rising then my Bitcoin position will be over 60%. The reason I keep it ahead of the trend but never 100% of one is that BTC v altcoin market cycles change, there are times when they trade inversely and other times where they rise and fall together and as such this gives a more even growth trajectory.
You would have heard of Bitcoin and the ‘altcoins.’ How this naming convention started was because back in the days of 2011, forks of Bitcoin appeared in the markets. The forks, or clones, each aspire to serve a niche area, aiming to be ‘better’ than Bitcoin. Since then countless new crypto has emerged, eroding away Bitcoin’s crypto market cap dominance. These altcoins are gaining market share at an alarming speed. Ten times or more growth has been observed in a time span as short as six weeks (see PIVX, an altcoin).
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.
This is especially true given the number of new cryptocurrencies that have entered the market. There is no industry that is targeted by only one cryptocurrency, and even if you manage to find such an industry, new players will likely surface. IOTA was the crypto that didn’t use blockchain; now there’s Nano, Circle, and Hashgraph. Ripple was the crypto for banks; now there’s Stellar slowly eating away at Ripple’s first mover advantage.
This is where the ‘crypto’, incidentally, in cryptocurrency comes from. Cryptographic hash functions are fundamentally necessary for the functioning of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as they are one-way functions. One-way functions work such that it is easy to calculate an output given an input, but near impossible to calculate the original input given the output. Hence, cryptographic one-way hash functions enable bitcoin’s proof of work system, as it ensures that it is nigh-impossible for someone to just see the output required to unlock new bitcoins, and calculate in reverse the input that created that output.
In crypto, we see many little dips, and then every few weeks or months we tend to see some very big dips (we might call “corrections” or “crashes”). Both little dips or big dips can make sense to buy depending on your investing strategy. If you are range trading, then little dips are great to buy, if you are a long-term investor, then the bigger dips can be rewarding for building a long position (but of course you have to be careful about how you time your buys).
Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, or GBTC, which tracks Bitcoin’s market price, has seen its net asset value hit its lowest point since the cryptocurrency’s price surged late last year. Shares of GBTC are down around 80 percent since Bitcoin hit a high of $19,511 in mid-December. The price of Bitcoin has dropped nearly 66 percent during the same time period, making the premium to the cryptocurrency almost nonexistent. The fund has traded at more than twice its net asset value.
Trading on this spot market is a lot like trading a stock, with prices governed by supply and demand, and no role played by a central bank, like the Federal Reserve. Since bitcoin is not yet accepted by many merchants, its value depends on speculators' view on what others will pay in the future. To detractors, that encourages bubbles. Advocates see huge potential profits.
A fork is sort of like a stock split and happens when a complex set of conditions are met. On August 1, 2017, for example, bitcoin speculators received one unit of bitcoin cash for every bitcoin already owned. The fork occurred after a number of big players called "developers" agreed to modify the algorithm to speed transactions as trading volume grew. Today, bitcoin cash trades at around $1,100, compared to under $7,000 for bitcoin itself.
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.
To define this they use custom questionnaires which help to explore aspects such as age and size of the current investment portfolio or profession. For example, it is considered that retired elementary school teachers tend to fall into the cautious group of investors, architects and engineers are usually placed to the methodical group, while salespersons are more spontaneous in their investments.
I’m not saying that HODLing won’t make you great returns in the long run – in fact, I firmly believe it will. However, by taking profits when an asset’s price is high and buying again when it’s low, your HODL position only becomes worth more and more. That being said (and assuming you bought in absolutely convinced of the long-term perspective of your holdings), never sell all your holdings when taking profits.
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.
One prerequisite of rebalancing is that the market should still be in an uptrend. When there are cracks appearing in the market after a big run up and media outlets are starting to spread FUD, it’s probably a good idea to start taking profits, which will be described in the following section. Use your predetermined portfolio balances for this. The above shown pie charts work very well, as they visually display your balance.
Ripple (XRP) is a more recently popular cryptocurrency, although some argue that it can't really be called a cryptocurrency at all. It does, however, have a market cap of $19.2 billion as of this writing, 3rd largest amongst cryptocurrencies. Ripple is meant to act as something of a payment processing system that could allow for instant international money transfers. It has partnered with several notable companies, including American Express.
When those mortgages were defaulted on, the artificially inflated values of the homes began to collapse, and banks were left holding assets worth far less than the amount they had lent out. As a consequence, they now had nowhere near the amount of money that customers had given them, and began experiencing liquidity crises that led to their ultimate bankruptcy and demise.
Also in March, it suddenly emerged that the abovementioned startup Crypto Facilities has been offering futures contracts tied to Ripple’s XRP token since October 2016, without much publicity, for some reason. On May 11, Crypto Facilities exploded another bombshell in the crypto space, revealing ETH/USD futures as their latest offering. And to crown it all, in June the same company unveiled the first regulated Litecoin futures.
Becoming a beginner, remember that the cryptocurrency share in your portfolio cannot exceed 1%. Do not exceed the level you can afford. What is the amount of investment can not exceed the loss you can afford, for example, just as you wake up the next day and find that your entire cryptocurrency investment is plummeting, you will still feel that your economic situation is not bad. Of course, you still feel heartache, but this kind of blow is not too bad for you.
Crypto tokens are essentially startup companies, therefore when reviewing blockchain infrastructure projects, look for the ones that control their own intellectual property, not the ones which are clones of some other blockchain. When looking at blockchain based projects, look for the ones that are solving a real market problem, have a real business plan, and an experienced team behind them. Avoid tokens which pay people to use them or tokens which look like a marketing operation without substance or tokens which just happen to be listed by some exchange for no reason. And for god sake don’t refresh coinmarketcap.com every few minutes.
Create a balanced portfolio on the basis of large amounts of information from multiple sources. None of the projects, except for perhaps Bitcoin, have gone mainstream yet, and until then the crypto market will remain highly speculative. Moreover, the bigger blockchain projects still have massive upside potential, so try to stick with those as much as possible.
This ‘intangible’ worth that we ascribe to currency, which accounts for the vast majority of the value of all currencies, not just bitcoin, is ultimately what makes money work. Yuval Noah Harari captures this fact very well in Sapiens, where he lays out the case that the value of a given form of money is essentially an indication of trust in that form of money. It is our shared collective trust and belief in a currency that gives it value, not its intrinsic tangible utility or anything else.
Some of the limitations that cryptocurrencies presently face – such as the fact that one’s digital fortune can be erased by a computer crash, or that a virtual vault may be ransacked by a hacker – may be overcome in time through technological advances. What will be harder to surmount is the basic paradox that bedevils cryptocurrencies – the more popular they become, the more regulation and government scrutiny they are likely to attract, which erodes the fundamental premise for their existence.
While futures products still carry unique and often significant risks, they can potentially provide a more regulated and stable environment to provide some exposure to bitcoin as a commodity as well. You should carefully consider whether trading in bitcoin futures is appropriate for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial resources, and other relevant circumstances.