Futures contracts are used to manage potential movements in the prices of the underlying assets. If market participants anticipate an increase in the price of an underlying asset in the future, they could potentially gain by purchasing the asset in a futures contract and selling it later at a higher price on the spot market or profiting from the favorable price difference through cash settlement. However, they could also lose if an asset's price is eventually lower than the purchase price specified in the futures contract. Conversely, if the price of an underlying asset is expected to fall, some may sell the asset in a futures contract and buy it back later at a lower price on the spot.
If you have mastered the points of improvement we focused on in the Guide for Early Beginners, one important point of improvement to focus on is testing and evolving strategies. Because you are at this skill level, you have enough knowledge, experience, and know-how in the cryptocurrency market to be able to test different trading strategies, and make edits to best fit the current market trends. Similarly, in order to guarantee better results, playing with and mastering different strategies is crucial.
Numerous banks and other financial institutions failed across the world, and had to be bailed out by governments at the expense of their taxpayers. This underscored the fragility of the modern financial system, where the health of our monetary system is reliant on banks and other financial institutions that we are forced to trust to make wise and prudent decisions with the money we give them. Too often for comfort, they fail to carry out this fiduciary responsibility to an adequate degree.
Gold Investments is one of the oldest and most respected names in the gold industry. The demand for gold investment has risen substantially as investors increasingly seek safety from paper investments through precious metals.  This higher demand for gold based assets has increased both metals values by more than 400% since 2001.  With nearly two decades of operation, Gold Investments is one of the oldest and most respected names in the gold industry.
NEW YORK, Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Grayscale Investments, LLC, the sponsor (the "Sponsor") of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (the "Trust") (OTCQX:GBTC), announced that a fork in the Bitcoin blockchain occurred yesterday, August 1, 2017. The Sponsor is monitoring events relating to the fork and the Bitcoin Cash resulting from the fork. A record date has not been established for the purposes of any distribution that may be made in connection with Bitcoin Cash. The Sponsor will announce a record date, if any, once established.
If everyone expects to get rich from a coin, the price will drive up. This is called a “pump”. Once the coin reaches a certain value – anywhere from 3 to 20 times over its original cost – then people will sell off in troves. This is called a “dump”. These pumps and dumps are heavily frowned upon in the world of Wall Street – in fact they are quite illegal – yet they are so prevalent in the unregulated world of cryptocurrency.
Right now, I can use my bitcoin holdings to pay for purchases at Overstock (OSTBP), or book a hotel on Expedia (EXPE). But if I use bitcoin to buy $25 worth of socks on Overstock today, and the price of bitcoin quadruples next week, I'll feel like those socks actually cost me $100. Then again, if bitcoin crashes, at least I'll always have the socks.
Its language choice is what gives this project a clear advantage. It allows developers to code decentralized apps in an existing, widely adopted programming language, C#, which is a huge advantage because it allows any current C# developers to begin exploring the platform, its uses and blockchain power with a minimal learning curve. This will undoubtedly lead to faster adoption and growth. Also, the project has backing by Microsoft and a very active development team. All these features make Stratis a winning project to invest in.
Through critical early investments not just in Bitcoin, but Ethereum, Qtum, EOS, and several other now high profile digit assets and companies, Steindorff's first fund significantly outperformed Bitcoin's 1000%+ gain from 2014 to date.  He and several other prominent early crypto investors and entrepreneurs have now partnered to launch Distributed Global, one of the most pedigreed crypto / digital asset funds in existence.   With Bitcoin finally exploding past and oscillating around the $10k mark this week, Kevin Harris from SumZero sat down with Johnny to discuss Bitcoin, crypto funds, and the future of blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Cash (5%) – Bitcoin Cash is similar to Bitcoin in that it too is supposed to be a currency that is dedicated to serving as a medium for the purchase of various goods and services. The key difference between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin is that the former has an 8MB block size, whereas Bitcoin has a 1MB block size. A bigger block size allows Bitcoin Cash to process transactions faster than Bitcoin, and at a lower fee.
Cryptocurrencies have attracted the attention of several investors all over the world. But in general, institutions did not participate in the market. Back in August, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates an important number of regulated exchanges all over the world, announced its intention to launch a new institutional-grade crypto platform known as Bakkt.
Cardano (ADA) is a fully open-source, decentralized, public blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cardano is very similar to Ethereum, and the team wants to build on that. Cardano aims to operate a global smart-contract platform which will deliver much more advanced features compared to its competitors. Loads of existing investors are excited because Cardano is the first blockchain founded on scientific philosophy, and also the very first provably secure proof of stake algorithm.
Bitcoin essentially dictates the cryptocurrency market because the most popular trading pairs are Bitcoin ones. Most Altcoins do not actually have a direct USD value and only hold a value in Bitcoin, which is then converted to USD to give their USD value. Usually if Bitcoin does badly, altcoins do worse. In a bull market, bitcoin generally goes up slower than altcoins. This leads us to believe that although Bitcoin is volatile, it is less so than other cryptocurrencies.
The price of bitcoin cratered about 80%, falling all the way to about $200, before stabilizing at that price for much of 2014 and 2015. Litecoin, on the other hand, fell from over $45 to about $1, and consequently lost over 97.5% of its value. PPC and NMC suffered so badly that I didn’t even bother to calculate how much I had lost, because it was basically everything.

Cardano (ADA) is a fully open-source, decentralized, public blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cardano is very similar to Ethereum, and the team wants to build on that. Cardano aims to operate a global smart-contract platform which will deliver much more advanced features compared to its competitors. Loads of existing investors are excited because Cardano is the first blockchain founded on scientific philosophy, and also the very first provably secure proof of stake algorithm.
The moment you look at the amount of support Tron has been receiving lately, you immediately realize it’s not just yet another blockchain-based platform. Tron’s technology aims to deploy world’s largest FREE content entertainment system. The platform allows anyone to store and own data, and to freely publish their content. Its app “Peiwo” already gathers 10 million enthusiasts and is on the road to become the world’s first TRON-compatible entertainment app. This technology revolves around the following ideology:  All contributions on the network should be of equal quantitative value, the Internet should be decentralized, and data creators should have the absolute ownership of the data. It’s important to realise though that Tron has been pushed like hell by an ambitious marketing department… I have not yet decided if this is a cryptocurrency which will survive but, for a one year hold, it seems a safe bet.
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.
Decide on a profit-taking strategy. When will you take profits? And how much will you sell? I’ve divided my holdings into low risk (Bitcoin), medium risk (platform), and high risk (utility). For every category, you decide on a profit/sell schedule. This can be: when a high-risk investment rises 20%, you sell 5%, or if you want to take more risk, when it rises 50% you sell 10%. Be realistic and commit yourself to your created schedule.
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with Bitcoin even if they do not accurately understand how it works. However, once they begin to get involved with cryptocurrency, they may be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies (a.k.a altcoins) out there besides Bitcoin (CoinMarketCap listed more than 2000 altcoins at the time this guide was written).
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 are passive investment vehicles and their shares may be adversely affected by losses that, had they been actively managed, might have been avoidable. Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund LLC is actively managed using proprietary investment strategies and processes. There can be no guarantee that these strategies and processes will produce the intended results and no guarantee that the fund will achieve its investment objective. This could result in the fund’s underperformance compared to other funds with similar investment objectives.
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.
The aspect we particularly like about decentralised exchanges is that they solve the single point of failure problem and the need for third party trust. As cryptocurrencies grow in value, centralised exchanges become a bigger and bigger target for hackers. Any investor with cryptocurrency on a centralised exchange is forced to trust that it will behave properly and have the necessary security measures in place. With decentralised exchanges, these issues are removed and this is why we think they will eventually replace older centralised exchanges.
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).
With the advent of smart contracts made possible by the blockchain, however, this is (soon-to-be) a thing of the past. One can create a simple smart contract at effectively almost no cost that specifies in code that each party will send it $100 in bitcoin, and that upon the completion of the election process, it will either send all $200 to the party that bet on Donald Trump winning the election, or send the $200 to the party that bet on him losing the election. No ifs, ands, or buts. The code is clear, objective, and deterministic. Either the contract is fulfilled in one direction, or it is fulfilled in the other. No need to trust the other party in the bet at all, much less a third party to mediate.
If we apply this to cryptocurrency, we can draw some parallels between the traditional markets and the cryptocurrency market. One would typically regard Bitcoin as being less risky than an unknown altcoin. From this, we can then tailor our level of exposure to suit our risk appetite. For example, a very risky portfolio might be 80% in small-cap cryptocurrency and 20% in Bitcoin.  Using the information we have gathered so far, we can now construct our own long-term portfolio.
It can do this by making the problem more or less difficult, by requiring more or less zeros at the beginning of the output that solves the problem. The more zeros that are required at the beginning of the output, the more exponentially difficult the problem becomes to solve. To understand this why this is, click here for a reasonably good explanation.
Consensus Method – One of the main differences between cryptocurrencies is their verification method, and the oldest and most common method is called Proof of Work (POW). A computer has to spend time and energy solving a difficult math problem to gain the right to verify a transaction. But the problem with this method is that it needs a huge amount of energy to operate. On the other hand, Proof-of-Stake (POS) systems try to solve this issue by letting the users with the largest share of the currency verify the transactions. These systems claim faster transaction speeds and require less processing power to operate. However, concern over security means that few coins use an entirely proof-of-stake-based system.
All in all, I think the same factors I wrote about in my last article are still true now, and my overall outlook on the crypto market is still positive. Assuming you agree, and that you have some available funds to throw at the market and forget about for the next several years, here are my investment strategy principles laid out from top to bottom according to their importance.
You’d be in good company in that case, anyway. Jack Bogle’s bitcoin investment advice is pretty simple, and blunt: You should avoid Bitcoin speculation “like the plague.” And this is coming from the guy who founded Vanguard, so he knows a thing or two about investments. The other risk to keep in mind if you plan to invest in bitcoin, aside from the overall volatility of the cryptocurrency, is of a cyber attack. Hackers descended on digital currency exchange Bitfinex on Tuesday, less than a week after cybercrooks made off with $70 million in a separate heist.
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.
This is critically important precisely for incredibly volatile speculative investments such as cryptocurrency, and plays into the fourth mistake I mentioned above, day trading, as well. More than possibly any other market I’ve seen, short term price movements for cryptocurrencies are oftentimes absolutely mystifying and nothing short of mind boggling. Highly anticipated events, such as halvings in bitcoin’s reward per block mined, come and go without any real perturbation in price. Other times, things rise when reason seems to suggest they should fall, and fall when they seem to have every reason to rise. For instance, bitcoin’s price collapsed to $200 after the bubble popped in 2013, and stayed stagnant at those levels, despite massive development in bitcoin infrastructure and significant growth in the adoption and usage of bitcoin over that same period of time.
It’s human nature to panic when something unexpected enters the fray, and cryptocurrency trading is no different. Experts agree that this human reflex is one major weakness in crypto trading beginners. This usually happens when the market takes an unexpected turn and the strategy that is being employed suddenly does not seem optimal for market conditions. In this state of panic, beginner investors frequently abandon their strategy if they did not expect or plan for these changes, leaving a considerable amount of value left unclaimed.
Steindorff: Litecoin. LTC taught us a very valuable lesson about the strength of a brand and its corresponding community. We missed the boat on LTC early on because we felt that its use case overlapped too heavily with BTC. It was hard to imagine that LTC could gain any significant market share from its dominant predecessor but despite our beliefs, Litecoin’s brand and community have driven it to become a top 10 cryptocurrency with a lot of volume and liquidity. The lesson here was that the power of a trusted brand and a devoted community has the ability to outweigh innovative tech. 

The Verge (XVG) technology revolves around providing an incredibly safe, private, and fast digital payment transactions – on an everyday basis. It offers all individuals and businesses a fast, efficient, and a decentralized option to make and receive direct payments in an average 5-second window per transaction. It runs on open-source technology, it is not a private company, and it isn’t funded by pre-mined coins. This is one of the reasons why people are so excited about it, all of its development, marketing, and other endeavors are completely done by the community – for the community.
UK-based cryptocurrency trading startup, Crypto Facilities, has become the first crypto platform to launch regulated Ethereum futures contracts, making a new derivatives contract available from 4 pm UK time on the 11th of May. The new Ethereum futures contracts represent another step toward the maturation of the cryptocurrency market as complex financial products such as index funds and crypto ETFs loom on the horizon.
IBM (IBM) has developed blockchain technology that they are using with a large variety of partners in a large variety of industries. One example is their partnership with food retailers, most notably Walmart, to help quickly, efficiently, and securely track the supply chain to help ensure ideal food safety. They have also partnered with Maersk to work on a blockchain platform for global trade.
The digital assets market will either be 0 or a multi-trillion dollar space. We obviously believe the latter. Highly disruptive technologies have always experienced tremendous challenges early on. Most people are unaware that even technologies such as the automobile and the lightbulb were initially met with massive resistance. Initially, technological breakthroughs do not have the right infrastructure in place to showcase their true potential. This will take time, but if it’s truly transformative the infrastructure will eventually develop, and the new technology will be accepted. We think the truly extraordinary returns will come earlier in the cycle from investors willing to take the extra risk. In my opinion we’ll look back on this day like it was mid-1990’s internet, we had the vision, but the true winners had not distinguished themselves yet. 

There are hundreds of altcoins, and more appear every day. Most altcoins are little more than Bitcoin clones and they do not survive for very long. They only change minor features, such as its hashing algorithm, distribution method, or transactions speed. One exception is Litecoin, which has branded itself as “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” The reason for that is that, in addition to using a different hashing algorithm than Bitcoin, Litecoin has a much higher number of currency units.

At the same time, I also see a million and one ways where bitcoin fails to reach the promised land. Bitcoin has already experienced numerous growing pains, and at the present moment, is suffering most acutely from a huge backlog of transactions that can’t be fit on the blockchain. This is because blocks are presently limited to 1 MB in size, and can consequently fit only a small fraction of all the transactions that are trying to be propagated over the network. This forces those who want to have their transactions go through to pay inordinately high transaction fees in order to prioritize their transaction over other transactions.
A rising trend in the world of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin ATMs allow users to purchase Bitcoin with cash through machines that work almost identically to standard ATMs. With over 3,000 Bitcoin ATMs scattered across the world (primarily in large metro areas throughout North America and Europe), you can use search tools such as Google Maps or Bitcoin ATM Radar to find one close. Just remember that while Bitcoin ATMs have low processing fees, they also have a low buying limit.
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.
The US hasn’t been immune to these crises, either. The US began its foray into fiat currency with the issuance of Continental Currency in 1775. Just three years later, Continental Currency was worth less than 20% of its original value. 13 years later, hyperinflation entirely collapsed the currency, and the US had to pass a law guaranteeing that all future currencies would be backed by gold and silver, and that no unbacked currencies could be issued by any state.
It’s also extremely convenient and valuable for a merchant to use, and we had great success implementing it for a trial run at my company Sprayableback in the day. In the past, we’ve suffered from rampant fraud after our site was targeted on a carding forum (a place where people buy and sell and use stolen credit cards). When we were paid in bitcoin, however, these concerns were completely eliminated, as fraud is an impossibility on the bitcoin network with enough confirmations.
You can see the present difficulty of mining bitcoin here. It should be evident from a half-second glance that the amount of computing power working to mine bitcoin right now is immense, and the difficulty is proportionally similarly immense. As of the time of this writing right now, there are close to 5 billion billion hashes per second being run to try to find the next block of bitcoin.
Another benefit of holding coins yourself, in a hardware wallet or elsewhere, is that you know that you 100% own all of your money. Exchanges are just like banks, in the sense that you trust them to hold your money for you. If they end up losing that money to hackers or stealing it themselves, you’re out of luck. This isn’t just a scary bedtime story — countless cryptocurrencyexchanges have been embezzled or hacked (an enormous percentage, actually), and hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost.
It took us only several years to achieve the things that no one has ever managed to achieve: we’ve created a highly productive universal wealth management company able to provide principal clients with the services of the highest quality possible and possessing an exclusive set of investment products. We are currently collaborating with about 20,000 clients and opening 30-50 new investment accounts daily.
The 2013 cryptocurrency bubble burst just a few days later, brought on by the collapse of Mt Gox, the largest bitcoin trading exchange at the time. It was revealed that Mt Gox had either been hacked or embezzled from, and no longer had any funds left to honor customer withdrawals. As a result, anyone who had decided to keep their bitcoins in Mt Gox at the time instead of withdrawing them to their own wallets ended up losing all their money. How much the price of bitcoin rises doesn’t mean anything if you lose all your bitcoins, unfortunately.
Currently, when sending cross border fiat transactions money goes through multiple intermediaries. This can take weeks to complete. The process is not only limited to those banks ‘in the loop’ but is also riskier because when unaffiliated banks are working with each other, they have to  issue IOU’s, which means a sending bank has less security should a receiving bank suddenly collapse.
Any cryptocurrency other than bitcoin is referred to as an altcoin. Remember, you should treat cryptocurrencies as if you were a VC looking to invest in a startup. You’d invest in the startup that would have the greatest chance of succeeding because it provides a unique benefit to the world that will continue to be useful in the long run. The main wallet i’m using to invest in altcoins is CoinSpot because it gives me the option of purchasing a plethora of cryptocurrencies from just one account.
Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.
In the case of less risky users which prefer long-term investment, it is important to build a diversified cryptocurrency portfolio. Fiat investors usually use benchmark indices such as S&P500 and Nasdaq Composite as they allow the opportunity to trade whole sectors easily and manage complicated portfolios in a straightforward investment, thus reducing the risks and volatility of the portfolio.
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