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.
Yes, today, it is far from this goal, but even now, we make progress in pushing forward the utility of bitcoin in every day pragmatic life. Already, it has proved indispensable to myself and hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I pay many of my employees today in bitcoin, even, because several of them live in Eastern Europe where they’re subject to draconian capital controls.
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Ultimately, if you want to make money with crypto you have a couple of options. The easiest thing to do is to build a diversified portfolio of carefully selected coins and then to simply wait a couple of years. However, this is not the most effective way to make mad money. If you want to truly crush it at crypto, you need access to truly knowledgable people.
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. 
With something as speculative as cryptocurrency in the first place, it makes no sense to invest in this space to begin with if your only goal is to make 20% profit. It almost certainly isn’t worth the risk at that level of gain. Hence, risking losing out on the long term upside of 10X+ that you’ve calculated and come to the conclusion does exist for a gain of less than 1X or .5X in most cases makes little to no sense at all. It only makes sense if it’s essentially a guaranteed gain with no risk, and that, again, is almost certainly not the case.
A question to everybody out there who knows more about cryptos and blockchain than I do (so basically everybody...): is there actually a real life application for cryptos for Joe Sixpack who does not live in a 3rd world country? I owned bitcoin at some point and it was a pain in the a.. to make any use of them. So, is there something nowerdays which would make my life easier if I used cryptos? Answers very much appreciated.

Since their triumphant advent in the wake of the December 2017 bull run, Bitcoin futures seem to have occupied an oddly fixed position in the minds of many cryptocurrency buffs. A popular view among those who follow the dynamics of the crypto world rests on a set of established points about BTC futures: they exist since late 2017; they are offered by Cboe and CME, two respectable regulated exchanges; they help manage investment risks and as such are supposed to draw institutional money into the crypto space, mitigating price volatility and lending credence to the underlying asset.
This fast has brought so much attention to altcoins, and it’s coming to be that a coin will go up in value simply because it’s on the market. So many new investors want to get in on the ground level, so they’ll pump impressive funds into initial coin offerings (ICOs) with the hopes of literally getting rich overnight. For many investors, this actually comes true. A coin will take off after releasing to the public and early investors are rewarded greatly.
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.

Avoid borrowing money. One of the drawbacks when credit cards were the most popular way to pay for Bitcoin was the concept of borrowing money on such an unpredictable investment. When you borrow money that requires you to pay interest (credit cards and personal loans, for example), you risk having to pay extra for an investment that doesn’t give you a return, which exponentially increases your risk.
Yet the Fed now faces a much different challenge: a runaway federal deficit even amid a strong U.S. economy. The deficit will top $1 trillion in fiscal 2019 and $2 trillion by 2027, and there's no fix in sight. Republicans have overseen big deficit-financed tax cuts and increased government spending. Democrats want more generous Social Security benefits, Medicare for all and debt-free college.
How assets are valued is a changing model, and the quoted market cap of a coin is an excellent tool for benchmarking but can be misleading. Chris Burniske wrote about this on Medium. As currency use increases and utility tokens bring products to market, the economic models will be tested and as such valuation models will change. This could go either way; assets could be either under or overvalued. I believe that currencies are undervalued, and utility tokens are overvalued, hence my preference for investing in coins over tokens.
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Steindorff: QTUM is an emerging smart-contract platform with a strong team and promising future. You can think of QTUM as a bitcoin/ethereum hybrid in the sense that the platform enables smart contracts to be built atop bitcoin’s UTXO blockchain. This is an important technological achievement as it enables mobile and IoT compatibility for smart contract backed decentralized applications, a feature not currently available with Ethereum. Mobile compatibility will accelerate the proliferation of smart-contract adoption among businesses while simultaneously broadening its use case as a digital currency via mobile friendly QTUM wallets. Additionally, QTUM has shifted away from the Proof of Work consensus model (Bitcoin/Ethereum) and instead leverages the Proof of Stake model which rewards QTUM token owners for confirming transactions via “staking” instead of “mining.” Without getting into too many details this method is both more environmentally friendly and less prohibitive for individuals to participate than the Proof of Work method.  Since launching in early 2017 QTUM has garnered a massive community throughout the Asia-Pacific and the United States. We believe the QTUM team is unrivalled in Asia and their protocol stack has the potential to become the dominant Smart Contract platform of Asia. 
Bitcoin’s main benefits of decentralization and transaction anonymity have also made it a favored currency for a host of illegal activities including money laundering, drug peddling, smuggling and weapons procurement. This has attracted the attention of powerful regulatory and other government agencies such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the SEC, and even the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In March 2013, FinCEN issued rules that defined virtual currency exchanges and administrators as money service businesses, bringing them within the ambit of government regulation. In May that year, the DHS froze an account of Mt. Gox – the largest Bitcoin exchange – that was held at Wells Fargo, alleging that it broke anti-money laundering laws. And in August, New York’s Department of Financial Services issued subpoenas to 22 emerging payment companies, many of which handled Bitcoin, asking about their measures to prevent money laundering and ensure consumer protection.  
Like any speculative investment, buying bitcoin at sky-high valuations is risky business. If you’re asking, “Is it smart to invest in bitcoin?” you might do well to heed this advice from billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who told MONEY, “It’s still very much a gamble.” You need to know that your bitcoin investment might lose money. If you’re not prepared to face that prospect, bitcoin investment might not be for you.
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 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.

Investors exchange the base currency of Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) for a stake in the initial stages of the project. The project will thereafter issue their native tokens to investors in return for the base currencies. This is similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO), where stocks of companies will be offered to the public. Here’s an article outlining the differences between an ICO and an IPO.
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.
A ledger is a database technology used to record transaction histories and ownership; it is a definitive account of who has given what to who, and who owns what. Most ledger technologies are physical and they’re centralized -- they’re controlled by a central bank.  This means that they are subject to the discretion and power of individuals, and are alterable and impermanent. This gives those ledger recording entities a tremendous amount of power over an individual’s financial transactions; it also means the ledger is vulnerable to manipulation.
We have several financial institutions trying to get an ETF to market, while thus far all have been shot down by the SEC, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) seems to have the best shot to win approval due to their long-term reputation of excellence, new product innovation, and there bulletproof insurance. If any bitcoins get stolen, you can bet the customers are well covered. Many were counting on the SEC approving an ETF this month, but it will likely not happen until the beginning of 2019, but when it does, that’s when the real fireworks will begin.
The primary difference between options and futures is that options give the holder the right to buy or sell the underlying asset at expiration, while the holder of a futures contract is obligated to fulfill the terms of his contract. In real life, the actual delivery rate of the underlying goods specified in futures contracts is very low as the hedging or speculating benefits of the contracts can be had largely without actually holding the contract until expiry and delivering the good. For example, if you were long in a futures contract, you could go short in the same type of contract to offset your position. This serves to exit your position, much like selling a stock in the equity markets closes a trade.
Cboe’s futures market is a niche player in derivatives trading, which could limit how many contracts change hands in the initial days. Fueled by contracts on the VIX, the Cboe Futures Exchange handled 56 million contracts during the first three quarters of 2017, according to data compiled by the Futures Industry Association, the industry’s trade and lobbying group. CME traded 3.1 billion contracts in the same period.
*An accredited investor, in the context of a natural person, includes anyone who either earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR, has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).

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.

On the flip side, if the world suffers a global financial meltdown on the scale of the Great Depression or something similar again, and fiat currencies start to crater, it very well may be such that governments are forced to resort to accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, if enough people simply flat out refuse to put their stock in fiat. This was exactly what the US government was forced to do just 13 years into their original experiment with Continental currency, when they agreed to promise to back all the currency they issued with hard gold and silver.
I hope that this elucidation provides some insight into why I personally see it as suspect to invest in something based on price alone, and why I urge extreme caution particularly if one is exploring whether or not to invest in an altcoin, especially if one is at least partially motivated to do so because of the feeling that the ship has already sailed for bitcoin, and that there might be better potential for outsized gains with a smaller altcoin. Again, this certainly may be true, and often is true even for altcoins destined for eventual failure in the short term while a bubble/bull market continues, but risks are amplified just as much as the opportunity itself when it comes to altcoins, and oftentimes moreso in a bubble than otherwise.
At the same time, it’s entirely unclear how governments will respond to bitcoin as it continues to grow, and if they’ll attempt to crack down in a very strong way and prohibit the use of bitcoin, or the creation of bitcoin related service companies, such as exchanges. If exchanges were banned from operating, for instance, it could very well make it very difficult for most people to transact between fiat currencies and bitcoin, and render the latter far less useful than it otherwise might be.

No. 2: Cryptocurrencies provide a unique and attractive combination of returns and volatility: Crypto assets are appealing because they enjoy relatively low correlation to other asset classes, like bonds (negative correlation) and gold (zero correlation). In other words, crypto assets can be an ideal way for investors to diversify a portfolio consisting of stocks and bonds. Research shows that a 2 percent exposure to crypto assets in a portfolio could, on average, boost returns by up to 200 bps. Five percent exposure could boost performance by over 500bps, nearly double that of a typical stock/bond blended portfolio. At the same time, active managers seeking retuns better than the market will possibly seek the high volatility of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
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